John Harper / The Houma Courier
HOUMA, La. -- Houma Police will perform steroid tests on a second dog present during an attack that killed a 4-year-old girl last week, Chief Todd Duplantis said Thursday.
The 6-month-old female, Khloe, has been in police custody since Niko, a 2-year-old 130-pound male, attacked and killed Mia Derouen on March 25 inside the Houma apartment she shared with her mother, Megan Touchet, and her mother's boyfriend, Kerry Dominique.
The couple owned both dogs, police have said.
The tests are being conducted by an out-of-state laboratory and results are expected in five to 14 days, Duplantis said. Animal control personnel were unable to conduct tests on Niko after he was killed by responding officers.
Rabies tests performed on Niko, however, came back negative.
Investigators must determine whether the dogs' owners acted recklessly. State law defines negligent homicide as "the killing of a human being by criminal negligence — or the killing of a human being by a dog or other animal when the owner is reckless and criminally negligent in the confining or restraining of that dog or animal."
Police are investigating allegations that the dog may have been abused or injected with steroids to increase its size and strength, Duplantis said.
The dog's physical condition and its predisposition to violence could determine whether Dominique or Touchet will face charges, according to First Assistant District Attorney Carlos Lazarus.
Police have not yet interviewed Dominique or Touchet, who have declined to speak to detectives on the advice of an attorney.
The dog attacked the girl while she and her mother watched TV at their Houma Highlands apartment, 461 S. Hollywood Road, police have said.
Touchet also was mauled by the dog and was treated at a local hospital. It took 12 police bullets to kill Niko, which Duplantis called a monster.
Khloe was taken to the Terrebonne Parish Animal Shelter unharmed. Police have said she will stay there until the conclusion of the investigation. Khloe is not accused of attacking anyone or acting aggressively.