The Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter received a tip Thursday about possible dog fighting at Hardin’s residence, Director Robin Beaulieu said. Animal shelter officers went to the house Friday morning, but no one was home.
The officers were able to get into the backyard and found seven chained and caged, malnourished pit bulls, Beaulieu said. The officers obtained a search and seizure warrant and returned with Sheriff’s Office deputies that afternoon.
Of the seven dogs rescued from the backyard, five were chained and two puppies were in cages. There was only one bowl of water, but it wasn’t within reach of any of the animals, Beaulieu said.
The shelter uses a nine-point scale to rate an animal’s body health, with 9 the highest rating achievable. The pit bulls rescued in Hardin’s backyard had body scales of .5 to 4 points, Beaulieu said. One female dog was suffering from extreme starvation.
“That dog did not have much longer to live,” she said. She said that dog has been eating since it was seized, and has gained some weight.
The three pit bulls kept inside of the home were much healthier, but their living conditions were questionable. The house seemed abandoned, and had holes in the floor.
“There’s no way anyone was living in this house,” Beaulieu said.
Authorities checked the dogs for any signs of dog fighting. One of the male dogs had fresh and healed scars, signs of being repeatedly attacked. Hardin told investigators another dog had broken into the yard and attacked the pup, according to Beaulieu.
Other than the injuries, shelter workers didn’t find any other evidence of dog fighting. The pit bulls are not animal-aggressive, a sign of such activities.
“I think they were breeding the dogs and selling the puppies,” Beaulieu said.
Hardin was booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna Friday. He was released Saturday on a $10,000 bond.
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