FOX 8 Defenders: More than 100 dogs seized in Thibodaux

Deputies load some of the seized Brittany dogs into a trailer for transport-Photo: Shelley Brown
Deputies load some of the seized Brittany dogs into a trailer for transport-Photo: Shelley Brown

Thibodaux, La.-- Lafourche Parish District Attorney Cam Morvant tells FOX 8 in court Wednesday, Judge Hugh LaRose told Chris Michot of Thibodaux he could keep 10 dogs, and ordered him to get rid of the rest, more than 100, and turn them over to a National Brittany Spaniel Rescue.

The court order comes on the heels of Michot's May conviction of animal cruelty, failure to vaccinate animals, and violations of the animal noise code.  Also, a parish veterinarian, who evaluated Michot's dogs and their housing last month, recommended to the court then that all animals leave the premises.

By 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office and its animal control officers started seizing animals from Michot's Little Choupic Road property.  Each dog was placed in a kennel and loaded onto cattle trailers.  Fifty-six dogs were loaded onto one trailer, more than 30 onto a second trailer and some were placed in animal control vehicles.  "We're using some of their (animal control) vehicles with climate control to take care of smaller or sicker animals," said Deputy Brennan Matherne, Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer.

Several members of the Crisis Management Unit, essentially Lafourche's SWAT team, were even on site.  "They were on scene just in case the situation escalated into something.  We were just prepared for any situation.  Luckily, Mr. Michot has been cooperating, and we have not had any issue with him at all," said Matherne.

Michot's neighbors, who made several complaints about his dogs barking all day and night, watched as the seizure unfolded.  "I think they should have did this long ago," said neighbor Joey Sanchez. "They knew this was going on.. running an illegal business, and we shouldn't have had to move and the lady next door shouldn't have had to move.. they fought this for years.. they late."

From Thibodaux, crews transported 103 dogs to the Raceland AG Center about 15 minutes away.  "They're looking good.. considering," explained Lafourche Parish veterinarian Dr. Lonnie de la Houssaye. "Just where they came from.. a lack of care. With all the heart worm positives, you can only assume there are other things that are lacking.. the feeding, the housing, etc."

de la Houssaye had to evaluate and vaccinate every animal.  "A lot of heart worm dogs, a lot of skin issues, teeth issues, gum issues or mouth issues.. only one heat stroke.. and that was very mild and got that one on IV fluids and now up and walking around," said de la Houssaye explaining what he found.

Brittany Spaniel rescue groups from Florida, New England and Texas and two national groups are also in Lafourche.  They'll move the dogs to foster homes around the country and then eventually adopting families.  "There's a lot of people who put a lot of hard work in here, and we're all running out of adrenaline and we're all on cloud nine to have the opportunity to help facilitate them having a new life.. they deserve that," said Bill Canney with the National Brittany Rescue.  He said a team from the LSU Veterinary School will be in Lafourche to help on Friday.  He hopes to move out of Louisiana by the weekend.

de la Houssaye credits the animal rescue group "We stand by You" and the Lafourche Chapter of the Humane Society for staying on top of concerns at Michot's property.

When FOX 8 started the FOX 8 Defenders series in November 2012, Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre had this to say:  "the evidence will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that cruelty does not exist and did not exist then."  Fast forward nearly nine months to today, and when FOX 8 tried to do an interview about the seizure with Sheriff Webre, he refused, saying he did not agree with FOX 8's coverage of this story.