Cynthia and Royce Johnson’s healthy 4 year old dogs were family. Vick and Fancy had their own Christmas stockings and were in the family portraits. But when Vick was found loose in a neighbor’s yard in mid-June, the Town of Basile, LA inexplicably took both dogs away, requiring the Johnsons to go to court to get their pets back. They went to the scheduled hearing five days later, only to find it had been canceled. The next day, they found out Vick and Fancy were dead:
All that’s left of the Boxer and Shar Pei is a grave in the backyard of their owner, Cynthia Johnson. She can’t help but relive the day they were taken away.
“I loaded them up, I told them they would be home soon, and they didn’t come home,” Johnson said. “They came home to be buried.”
As if the horror of losing two family members at once wasn’t enough, Cynthia Johnson learned details of their agonizing deaths in the most gruesome way imaginable:
She said the situation became worse when she demanded to see her dogs, who were delivered to her home.
“The dog catcher said, ‘Ma’am, be careful; there are maggots,'” Johnson said. “I was like, ‘What do you mean maggots? He just died two hours ago. How could he have maggots?’ So I took the bag and I tore it open, and when I did he was just like covered in maggots. They were, like, everywhere, and he had sores everywhere, and they were eating him,” Johnson said.
A report from a local vet clinic indicated Fancy was dead at the time she arrived at the hospital and Vick took “one last agonal breath and died.”
Part of the Town of Basile, as well as the pound where it takes animals, is within Acadia Parish. Tim Benoit, the Acadia Parish Animal Control supervisor, investigated the deaths. He determined that the Basile town employee in charge of caring for impounds neglected Vick and Fancy to death. Benoit issued the employee a citation for two counts of animal cruelty – but it’s just a $500 fine. After all, they’re only animals:
Benoit said he did not see the alleged violations as criminal in nature.
“It’s a civil matter,” Benoit said.
Nothing civil about it. Pets are family. The employee has been reassigned and won’t be working at the pound in future. Gee, nice gesture on the town’s part there.
Benoit said that his investigation revealed the need for improving animal care in Basile and that the the town’s mayor asked for his recommendations on how to remedy the Basile animal control issues at hand.
Ya think? There will reportedly be some upgrades and training and blah.
“Just give me some time. We will get this fixed,” Benoit added.
How much time will it take to get justice for Vick and Fancy? I guess never would be the answer to that.
(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)