Thibodaux, La. -- There are two new developments in a FOX 8 Defenders investigation surrounding a Lafourche Parish man accused of animal cruelty charges.
On Monday, Judge Hugh LaRose set a trial date for March 14, 2013 for Warren "Chris" Michot. At the same time, the FOX 8 Defenders also learned that Michot didn't have an occupational license until last week. A parish spokesperson said on December 13 he applied and received a "temporary service license" for this year and 2013, but that wasn't until after our November report showed records that he's claimed he's run an animal management facility for more than 30 years.
Michot and his attorney, David Ardoin, had no comment after Monday's pre-trial conference in Thibodaux. "They told us it would be speedy six months ago, and now he's got another three or four months. That's not speedy," explained Joey Sanchez, Michot's next door neighbor.
Michot faces criminal charges for failure to vaccinate dozens of dogs, violations of the animal noise code and animal cruelty. Last month, the FOX 8 Defenders revealed a sheriff's deputy report from August that stated "several animals were coughing in kennels... they appeared to be overcrowded.. at least five dogs in each kennel." The report also stated dogs "were laying in feces and appeared very dirty."
Feeling like prisoners in their own home, Sanchez and his wife, Vivian, turned to FOX 8 in November with claims they were sick over the barking and animal waste. A month after our first report, the Sanchez's say conditions haven't improved. "Same thing.... barking every morning, every night, every evening, and he (Michot) threatened us... threatened he would hurt someone," said Sanchez.
For the last year, the Sanchez's have filed complaints against Michot for constant dog barking and foul odors, and now we're learning the Sanchez's aren't alone. "All kinds of people came over and checked it out. Nobody gave us any answers. It was never taken care of," said Linda Thibodaux. She said she lived on the other side of Michot for more than 32 years, but says she moved away because of the same concerns the Sanchez's are dealing with now.
They feel better a trial date has been set, but realize it may not help the situation in the meantime. It's a case the Humane Society of Louisiana, Lafourche Chapter is also keeping a watchful eye on. "I'm concerned for the dogs. I hope he got houses for the dogs," said Pamela George of the Humane Society.
When we asked how Michot could have operated his business without a license for more than 30 years, a Lafourche Parish spokesperson told FOX 8 they don't have the resources to audit everyone.