A state district judge set bond at $5,000 on Tuesday for Jermaine Dwayne Doucet Jr., an Opelousas man who was arrested on an animal cruelty charge in connection with the death of a former prized racehorse that was found malnourished in a field on June 20 by St. Landry Parish Animal Control.
The former thoroughbred horse Dr. Drip, who last won a race in 2014, was discovered by animal control investigators on property located at the intersection of Colorado and Blanchard streets inside the Opelousas city limits, according to 27th Judicial Court records filed in connection with the case.
According to the arrest affidavit filed Tuesday, Doucet, 18, indicated to sheriff’s deputies prior to his arrest that he owned the horse.
Doucet did not provide any official statements to deputies prior to the arrest, the affidavit shows.
Deputies responded on June 20 to a possible animal cruelty complaint after being notified by parish animal control supervisor Stacey McKnight. After they arrived at the property, deputies Mark Fontenot and Gregory Cormier noticed the animal was severely malnourished and appeared to have saddle sores located along the back area, the records show.
The records also state that deputies found that rib bones of the horse were protruding from its sides and maggots and flies had substantially clustered around the saddle sores.
Fontenot wrote in the arrest affidavit filed in connection with the investigation that McKnight contacted the Sheriff’s Department after she received an anonymous tip that a horse in the field at Colorado and Blanchard appeared to be malnourished.
Detective Eddie Thibodeaux said Tuesday that investigations of animal cruelty are handled by the Sheriff's Department after they receive complaints from animal control officers.
The affidavit said that deputies obtained permission to investigate the condition of the horse after obtaining information from the property owner. The animal was then seized by animal control officials and moved to the animal shelter facility for observation.
Veterinarians affiliated with the Acadiana Equine Hospital found the horse also had abrasions usually associated with burns, said the affidavit.
Thibodeaux in the interview said that apparently, Dr. Drip had several owners after the horse finished its racing career.
“From what we have been able to understand, the horse was either given or donated by the first owner to another person. Then another guy bought it and Doucet gave that person money to buy the horse," Thibodeaux said.