NEW ORLEANS —Authorities say Houma police charged the co-directors of the Houma-based animal rescue organization, My Heart’s Desire, with 36 counts of animal neglect following an investigation.
The two women charged are Tracy Lapeyrouse, 50 and Leslie Matherne, 53. The duo is accused of having deplorable conditions, including feces, urine and piles of thick dog hair.
Photo’s provided to WDSU from the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office show several dogs with problems ranging from deteriorating health problems including arthritis, tumors, severe ear infection and degenerative joint disease.
The shelter also says some of the dogs came in under weight, were confined to cages and some had worms and broken bones.
The Terrebonne Parish Animal Shelter removed the 36 dogs. Many have already been picked up by various rescue organizations. Four of the dogs had to be euthanized due to aggressive behavior or incurable illness.
One animal rescue advocate, Deanna Theis , said, “It was worse and more severe than what I was led to believe.”
Theis worked with the duo in the past with rescues, and they were friends.
“For all of us who came together and helped to save the animals, its discouraging and heartbreaking,” Theis said. “There has been betrayal here.”
Many organizations helped take care of some of the dogs. Theis says the rescue organizations are already strapped and still took on dogs to help relieve the swell from the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office. The dogs have been divided among several groups.
Http://louisianaboxerrescue.org, http://www.nolalabrescue.org, http://www.hailmaryrescue.com,
When asked for comment, Lapeyrouse declined.
The duo was cited with neglect, allowed to keep five of their personal dogs and were ordered to clean up the property.
Authorities said the women reported to them that the dogs were staying at the house until renovations were done at their adoption facility. But Theis and others say that is no excuse.