DONALDSONVILLE — Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested two people Tuesday accused of running a dogfighting training operation at their home, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies arrested Brittany Ward, 24, and Joseph Duncan, 28, 710 Sixth St., Donaldsonville, on five counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, five counts of confined animals, lack of necessary food and water and one count of dog fighting, Lt. Col. Bobby Webre, chief of criminal operations, said.
Duncan, who had been on the run since the discovery Sunday of the training area in his backyard, turned himself in Tuesday afternoon, Webre said. Ward was arrested earlier, Webre said.
Both were in Ascension Parish Prison in Donaldsonville on Tuesday afternoon, waiting for bail to be set.
Webre said deputies believe the dogs were being trained for dogfighting.
On Sunday, a deputy, giving chase through Donaldsonville backyards for a man wanted in a separate criminal matter, came across Duncan’s back yard on Sixth Street, Webre said.
The deputy, who had handled canines in the Marine Corps, saw several dogs staked out with chains around their necks, wire leads attached to them and no access to food or water, deputies said in a news release.
Two dogs also had multiple scars and scabs on their bodies. The injuries are consistent with those from dogfighting, deputies said.
A dead dog in the yard had several bite marks on its body and duct tape around its muzzle, prohibiting the dog from opening its mouth.
The bite marks and the taped muzzle are indications the dog was a “bait dog” to train other dogs to fight, deputies said.
“It is unconscionable that anyone would subject these animals to such inhumane treatment and atrocious living conditions,” Sheriff Jeff Wiley said in a news release.
“Dogfighting and animal cruelty are not victimless crimes and they will not go without penalty.”