UPDATE: Vet clinic owner says accused dog shooter was well-liked by clients
RIVER RIDGE, LA (WVUE) - The Jefferson Parish Sheriff says a Harahan veterinarian has been arrested in connection with the Dec. 13 shooting death of a family's pet.
Dr. Kelly Folse, 35, who worked at the Abadie Veterinary Hospital and also with Animal Rescue of New Orleans until she was fired recently, faces aggravated cruelty to animals and illegal discharge of a weapon near a school - both felonies - as well as unrelated drug charges. Detectives believe Folse obtained one of the drugs through prescriptions intended for her own pets.
Interim Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto identified the drugs as diazepam and Adderall.
Folse was arrested without incident Tuesday at her Camille Drive home.
FOX 8 spoke with the owner of Abadie. Dr. Scott Abadie confirmed that Folse was fired last week because of the incident. She had worked there since she was age 15, starting out as a vet tech. Abadie said his office had not received any complaints about Folse. In fact, he said clients loved her.
"We're shocked and disgusted of the actions of her," he said. "It's just not something you expect of anybody, especially a vet."
He also said their thoughts are with the dog's family.
Lopinto said Folse lived next door to the animal, an American bulldog named Bruizer, and had sent its owners hostile messages about the dog and its barking.
"We got him right after my son was born. He was such a loving dog," says Stacey Fitzner.
Fitzner cannot comprehend why anyone would hurt Bruizer. She describes him as a friendly, 15-month-old who was like a member of the family.
"He was always in the bed with us. He was always licking us. My son would ride him. He was a great, wonderful American bulldog," says Fitzner.
On Wednesday, she says she put Bruizer in the backyard as she often did when she left for work.
"My mother was picking up my niece and nephew from Hazel Park, and she noticed that the dog was lying in the grass not moving," says Fitzner
She says her mother knew something wasn't right, so they decided to check on Bruizer.
"Her and my nephew found the dog with blood surrounding him. Someone had to come up behind him and put the gun to him and shoot him," says Fitzner.
Bruizer had been shot in the head and was clinging to life. Fitzner's brother rushed over.
"He grabbed the dog, and we went straight to a vet, which was closed, so he went to a second vet. We thought the dog would survive. As awful as it was, we had hope that he would be OK. After being at the vet all night, we found they had to put him to sleep," says Fitzner.
That vet turned out to be the Abadie Vet Hospital.
The family called the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office to file a report. Fitzner says it's clear to her that someone pushed open their gate to gain entry to the backyard.
"The dog couldn't have pushed the gate open. There's no possible way. Someone had to open this," says Fitzner.
Fitzner says what's even more disturbing is that her backyard abuts Hazel Park School, and children may have been outside at the time of the shooting.
"After talking to some neighbors and some parents of the school, we believe that it happened between 2:30 and 3. The kids were at PE at that time," says Fitzner.
Fitzner says she's so upset about what happened, she doesn't feel safe in her own home anymore.
"I hope we find out who did this. This is such an awful thing. The person who did this has to be sick. A normal person would not come on someone's property and shoot a dog in the back of the head, and such a loving dog. It's just disturbing," says Fitzner.
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