Judge refuses to sign arrest warrant for juvenile suspect in animal cruelty case
UPDATE: Iberville Sheriff Brett Stassi says Judge Pamela Johnson has refused to sign the arrest warrant for a juvenile allegedly involved in the viral video depicting animal cruelty.
In an interview with WBRZ, Sheriff Stassi expressed his frustration over the decision.
On Thursday, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore released the following statement addressing the situation:
"There have been several news stories following the release of a video of two dogs being abused in the Baton Rouge area. Some of these reports concerned the legal proceedings associated with these events. Many concerned citizens of our parish and state, as well as others around the country, have expressed their opinions about the treatment of these animals, their desire for prosecution of the offender(s) and the need to protect these animals. I would like to issue a statement to inform all of those who have expressed their heartfelt concern exactly how this matter will be handled. I absolutely share their concerns and understand their desire for information regarding this crime. I must refrain, however, from releasing any information that would be contrary to Louisiana state laws dealing with confidentiality of juvenile matters."
"I can affirm that the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s office has filed delinquency petitions against a juvenile alleging cruelty to an animal, a misdemeanor offense. Juvenile matters are confidential unless they are statutorily enumerated as a crime of violence. They are also closed to the public. Under Louisiana law, this offense is not classified as a crime of violence. Therefore, no further comment can be made as to this particular offense, the alleged offender and the specifics of this case. Rest assured, we will zealously pursue this matter through final adjudication."
"While I would personally like to comment to fully inform all those interested, the law does not allow me to do so in any meaningful way. We take animal cruelty cases very seriously at this office and will seek justice in all such cases. I appreciate all of the calls, letters, emails and posts that have been sent regarding the allegations reported in the news and on social media. Unfortunately, no other comments are allowed at this time."
Check back for updates.
BATON ROUGE – The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office says it has identified a suspect in connection with a notorious video on social media showing a juvenile throwing two dogs around a parking lot.
The video surfaced this weekend and has elicited concern from people across the country.
The video, which WBRZ has decided not to reproduce in its entirety on television or online, shows the juvenile walking two dogs attached to a leash. As he approaches an apartment complex street, he begins to pull the leash around, pulling the dogs into the air and tossing them down the street.
The dogs squeal as they hit the ground, get up and run away.
Officials have told WBRZ that the dogs are now safe with their owners.
Originally, internet speculation suggested the incident occurred in Iberville Parish, leading to authorities there opening an investigation. Following a WBRZ.com report Monday, the sheriff's office said it was revealed the video was recorded in East Baton Rouge. The sheriff's office in EBR said it had opened its own investigation as of Monday.
On Wednesday, the sheriff's office confirmed it had identified a juvenile suspect in connection with the video. EBRSO added that information had been submitted to juvenile court and is waiting for the case to proceed.
Deputies located the animals Monday afternoon, noting that they were in good health with their owner. The sheriff's office is still working a joint investigation with the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office to apprehend and charge those responsible for the incident.
The sheriff's office in Baton Rouge received information from Iberville authorities Monday morning.
Check back for updates to this story later Monday.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated from its original post to reflect new information received around lunch Monday.