Animal rights supporters attend Melville town meeting after disturbing viral video of animal abuse

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A meeting was held in Melville Tuesday night to discuss animal cruelty within St. Landry Parish.

This comes after graphic video of a resident showed the beating of a dog with a shovel.

Animal rights supporters were in attendance at tonight’s Town of Melville meeting being a “voice for the voiceless.”

The meeting got heated in Melville as St. Landry Parish residents voiced their concerns as to why the Melville resident who allegedly beat a dog with a shovel was not originally charged with high animal cruelty offenses.

News 10 distorted the images of the dog being beaten which spread on social media because it is simply too graphic to show.

One suspect has been arrested, said Melville Police Chief Anthony Moreau.

“We were able to make contact with the suspect and the suspect was charged with a misdemeanor, but since then we’ve obtained new evidence to where we’re going to upgrade the charge to a felony which is going to be aggravated cruelty to animals,” the chief said. 

St. Landry Parish Animal Control picked up several dogs from suspect’s home.

Director of Friends Underwriting Rescues Jeanie Casanova strong enforcement of the state’s animal cruelty laws is needed.

“You hear people say ‘Well, geez, Louisiana needs animal cruelty laws.’ We have animal cruelty laws, and people need to be arrested and it needs to be prosecuted,” Casanova said. “We’ve got to give that message or it’s just going to be a vicious cycle.”

During the meeting, animal rights supporters offered their opinions on animal cruelty laws.

“I was hoping to bring awareness of the laws to a lot of these local small towns that are not aware of the animal cruelty laws as well as making sure that this case is seen through as an actual felony,” explained Rachel Ducharme, an animal rights supporter.

In unclear how many dogs were abused, but there were clear signs of neglect at the arrested suspect’s home, Moreau said. 

“It was the one that he saw on video beating, but I think a couple of dogs may have been malnourished and another one of the dogs had some cuts on it,” he said.

Animal cruelty in St. Landry Parish has been major issue for several years, Ducharme said. 

“I’m very concerned because there are very clearly stated state as well as parish ordinances regarding animal cruelty,” she said. There’s very specific codes of minimum maximum codes and in St. Landry Parish historically, those have not been enforced.

Chief Moreau says the suspect who will be arrested and charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal is Danny Gray.

As far as the condition of the beaten dog, St. Landry Parish Animal Control says the animal is doing okay but has a long road to recovery.

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