UPDATE: St. Landry Parish President reacts to arrest of former animal control director.

St. Landry Parish

UPDATE: St. Landry Parish President reacted Monday to the arrest of the former director of St. Landry Parish Animal Control. Stacey Alleman McKnight is charged with theft and malfeasance in office.

Parish President, Jessie Bellard said, “After taking office in August 2020 to fill the parish president’s position, I asked the sheriff’s department to start looking into the missing livestock at the parish’s animal control center.” He added that “Theft and malfeasances cannot be overlooked or ignored in government. St. Landry Parish Government will not tolerate this type of behavior.”

Bellard said all parish employees would be held accountable for any transgressions. “If we learn of any alleged criminal activity by parish employees, we will investigate and prosecute if need be,” said Bellard.  “Citizens put their trust in us and rely on us to make sound and appropriate decisions on their behalf.  For this parish to succeed, we must retain the trust of our citizens by doing the right thing and stopping those that don’t.”

ORGINAL STORY: ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY)- Stacey Alleman McKnight, the former director of St. Landry Parish Animal Control, is facing eight counts of theft, and charges of malfeasance in office and injuring public records following an investigation by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office.

According to Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, in October, 2020, deputies responded to a theft complaint involving livestock, public files and parish property.

Upon arrival, a representative with the animal control center reported three horses were missing. They were described as a black and white (paint) Tennessee walker, a gelding palomino quarter horse and a sorrel quarter horse. The employee said the Tennessee walker was medically treated by a veterinary school in 2019. The palomino and sorrel were medically treated at a local veterinary center from 2016 until 2019. St. Landry Parish Government paid for all medical services at the time of treatment. The representative also reported that several cattle / horse panels, fencing and kennels were missing from the center.

On October 22, 2020, the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office contacted the Louisiana Livestock Brand Commission to assist in this investigation.

Investigators reportedly discovered that the horses were removed from the Animal Control Center during McKnight’s tenure as director between 2015 and 2020.

McKnight was reportedly seen removing the three horses, files and other property from the parish facility during March 7 – 9, 2020. All property was allegedly taken to her home located on Ethel. McKnight also reportedly posted photos of the horses on her personal Facebook page, which were dated from July 2020 – September 2020.

When questioned by detectives, authorities said McKnight admitted to possessing and/or removing the following property from the St. Landry Parish Animal Control Center:

  • Birds – peacock (four) and geese (four)
  • Several animal carriers
  • Several case files
  • Employee files
  • Miscellaneous animal documentation
  • Keys
  • Shirt collar insignia pins
  • Insurance cards for parish vehicles; and logbook pertaining to donations, belonging to St. Landry Animal Control.

Multiple interviews were conducted with St. Landry Parish Animal Control personnel and St. Landry Parish Government officials. It was determined that McKnight did not have permission and/or authorization to remove any property from St. Landry Parish Animal Control.

She was booked on a $29,500 bond.

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