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Rescue Alliance planning to use drones to capture footage of animal neglect

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ASCENSION PARISH - Rescue Alliance is taking its rescue efforts to new heights and announced Wednesday it plans to purchase a drone for the purpose of recording instances of animal abuse and neglect.


“We’re not going in and zooming in on their house or anything like that, it’s solely for the purpose of the animal and to determine its living conditions, but only once a complaint is received," Rescue Alliance leader Jonathan Henriques said.

He says the footage would be unedited, preserved and turned into law enforcement. The agency would also use the drone to locate lost animals during natural disasters. 

“After a hurricane or severe flooding, it helps be able to locate people’s pets, cattle that have gotten loose and everything in areas where you might not be able to reach by walking up to it. We can actually pinpoint and feed that information to rescuers on the ground," Henriques said.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about Henrique's Big Brother-type plans. Ascension Parish District Attorney Ricky Babin says it's a solid idea, but the kinks need to be worked out. 

“It’s... somewhat Orwellian to me," Babin said. “If you’re flying over the wrong house, the phones are going to blow up.”

Although Henriques says the drones will only record residences where complaints of abuse have been filed, Babin is concerned for the privacy and security of every day citizens. 

“If you did it after a two-inch rain and went to a horse pasture, I’m sure it would have mud in it. Does that mean the animal lives in mud all the time? I don’t know," Babin said.

Henriques insists the drones will be able to do an adequate job of gathering footage without trespassing or breaking any laws. 

"We can actually go in, and without even going on the person's property, we can get actual images of the pet to turn over to law enforcement," Henriques said.

Once Henriques obtains an FAA license to fly a drone and raises $12,000 to buy it, he plans to present this idea to the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office and Louisiana State Police to ask for a partnership. He's hoping to accomplish all of that within the next 30 days. 

Click here to learn more about how to donate to Rescue Alliance's drone fund. 


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