Sydni Dunn/Houma Courier
The 103 Brittany spaniels seized from a Thibodaux breeder last week have all been examined and transported to their new homes, according to officials who helped rescue the dogs.
The dogs were taken from the home by parish officials after the owner, Warren 'Chris' Michot, was found guilty of cruelty to animals in May. In June, the court ordered Michot to reduce the number of dogs on his property, at 368 Little Choupic Road. When Michot didn't comply, Judge F. Hugh 'Buddy' Larose ordered that all but 10 dogs be removed.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office coordinated with the National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network for the rescue. The national organization, in turn, reached out to four more Brittany spaniel rescue groups to join the effort.
The dogs were taken from the home Wednesday and brought to the Raceland Agriculture Center where they were bathed, vaccinated and given a preliminary medical evaluation by Dr. Lionel de la Houssaye, a Lafourche Parish veterinarian.
De la Houssaye said all of the dogs were in 'decent shape.' There were signs the dogs had been neglected, such as urine and feces stains on their fur, but they were OK. 'On a scale of one to 10, they were a five,' he added.
Of the dogs that were screened for heartworms, he said, about 70 percent tested positive. The dogs that were not screened were not old enough to be tested.
'They were all ages, but it can be hard to tell an exact age,' de la Houssaye said. 'You might look at one and based on the condition of their teeth or gums, the dog might look 12 years old when in fact they are only 7 or 8.'
Mouth problems, such as missing teeth or infected gums, were common in the rescued dogs, he said. Other ailments included skin problems, parasites and dehydration.
Some of the dogs needed intravenous fluid therapy because of the heat and stress, he said, and another had to have abdominal surgery Wednesday night for pyometra, a uterine infection. Seven of the dogs were pregnant.
All of the dogs were in good enough health to make the trips to their new homes, he said.
The dogs were split among the five rescue organizations, said Susan Spaid, president of the National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network. Those groups include the Brittany Rescue of Texas, Florida Brittany Rescue, and the American Brittany Rescue and New England Brittany Rescue, both in Pennsylvania. The last dogs arrived in Pennsylvania Monday, she said.
All are adjusting to their new environments, Spaid said. Some are in foster homes and others are in boarding facilities.
The dogs that are healthy will start to be put up for adoption in the coming weeks, and the dogs that have heartworms or other parasites will begin treatment. The respective treatments are being paid for by money pooled by the rescue organizations, she said.
De la Houssaye said there's still a possibility the dogs could suffer problems down the road. Even so, they will be in better condition than they would have been on the breeder's property.
From the minute they left the home, he said, the dogs were happier.
'They sat there in the laps of volunteers looking like they were in seventh heaven,' he said.
Spaid agreed, saying she appreciated the community's support in the rescue effort.
'We hate to see this kind of thing happen,' she said, 'but with everyone working together, it turned out to be a good thing.'