ANGIE, La. - Two men were taken into custody in connection with the fatal shooting of a dog that was tied to a tree and wounded several times.
According to the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office, 26-year-old Mario Cotton along with his cousin, Devon Cotton (age not given) were taken into custody on Thursday and Friday. Mario Cotton was arrested on Thursday, while deputies said Devon Cotton surrendered to the sheriff's office Friday afternoon.
Deputies said the men told them that the dog that was killed - an adult pit bull mix - had just given birth and killed her puppies. The men said they were unable to control the dog and could find no one else to take it, so they made the decision to shoot the dog.
"While this might appear to be a simple crime, there are extenuating factors that likely will be considered when the case comes before the courts," said Chief Deputy Mike Haley. "Motive is one of those factors. Alleged cruelty to animals often is an emotional issue and we must be careful not to rush to judgment as some out of parish folks have already done. We have a very competent District Attorney’s Office and they will sort out the details and handle the case in an appropriate manner.”
“Once again I complement our deputies and detectives for responding to and resolving this incident. We take all crimes seriously and will investigate them," said Sheriff Randy Seal. "When I was sworn into office, I took an oath to support all of the laws of the State of Louisiana and that is what I intend to do. I am blessed to have competent officers working for me who methodically investigate crimes and bring them to a proper conclusion. We try not to allow emotion to dictate any investigation. We simply try to do what is right.”
Aggravated Cruelty to Animals is a felony offense which carries a penalty upon conviction. Louisiana Revised Statute 102.1(6) states, “Whoever commits the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals shall be fined not less than five thousand nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars or imprisoned, with our without hard labor, for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or both.”
Mario Cotton was released on a $10,000 bond, while Devon Cotton was awaiting a bond hearing.