Two people have been arrested on felony charges. Steven Ray Jones, 49, and Holly Nicole Dowden, 31, have been arrested for one count each of Aggravated Animal Cruelty.
They were arrested on Monday by the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office (VPSO) after they investigated an animal cruelty complaint.
Detectives with the VPSO investigated a residence on Wise Burns Rd. and found a miniature horse lying in the front yard. The horse was unresponsive.
After obtaining a search warrant, detectives found 12 dead animals in plain sight, and in various stages of decay.
In addition to the dead animals, VPSO removed several live animals, who were suffering from severe neglect from the residence.
Vernon Parish Animal Control removed nine dogs from the residence. St. Landry Parish Animal Control offered assistance in removing additional animals from the property. St. Landry Animal Control removed eight donkeys, six horses, and one goat from the location after making two trips.
DVM Jesse Brandon, of Brandon Veterinary Clinic of Leesville, came to the residence in an effort to provide medical care for the animals. Blood samples were obtained from animals at the location for further testing.When the VPSO was able to make contact with Steven Ray Jones, he told the VPSO that someone had poisoned the animals
After laboratory analysis, It was ultimately determined that the deceased animals at the residence were not poisoned. The analysis revealed that the animals died from severe neglect and malnutrition.
Both Jones and Dowden are being held in the Vernon Parish Jail on $10,000 bonds. If convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison.
Detective David Vance was the lead investigator in this case. Sheriff Sam Craft publicly thanked the DVM Jesse Brandon, St. Landry Parish Animal Control Facility, Vernon Parish Animal Control, the Louisiana Brand Commission, and the Vernon Parish Police Jury for their assistance in the case.