Charges of animal cruelty against two St. Bernard Parish deputies stemming from the shooting of dogs in the aftermath of Katrina have been dropped by the newly elected Louisiana state Attorney General. From theTimes Picayune…
Citing insufficient evidence, new state Attorney General James
“Buddy” Caldwell has dropped animal cruelty charges against two men
accused of killing stray dogs while working for the St. Bernard Parish
Sheriff’s Office in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina.
Michael Minton, 44, a former sheriff’s deputy, and Clifford “Chip”
Englande, 36, a sergeant who has been on desk duty for more than a
year, were indicted on charges of aggravated animal cruelty in November
A state grand jury concluded they fatally shot “numerous dogs” that had
been abandoned by their owners and were roaming the streets after
Katrina swamped the parish.
The indictments, which were obtained by Caldwell’s predecessor,
Charles Foti, were partially based on jerky video shot by a Texas
photojournalist that shows a black Labrador lying mortally wounded on a
Violet street as two civilian vehicles commandeered by the Sheriff’s
Office drive past.
Here is that video:
The Times Picayune article continues explaining the content of the video…
The recording, which can be viewed at
[LINK] includes the sound of a gunshot as the camera pans to a black Lab lying
in the middle of the street. The dog yelps and tries to get up as a
pickup and Jeep spray painted to indicate they had been seized by the
Sheriff’s Office drive away.
“They just killed that dog, man,” Leeson says on the recording. “This place has gone crazy.”
Moments later, another gunshot can be heard, and Leeson says, “They shot that one, too.”
In a subsequent interview recorded by Leeson, Minton acknowledged shooting dogs, citing safety and humanitarian concerns.
“It’s better for that dog, really. Where’s he going to find food?
Where’s he going to find water?” Minton says on the recording. “We’re
doing it to protect ourselves, but it’s more humane for the dog.”
Later in the interview, Leeson asks Minton, “So how many dogs?”
“Enough,” Minton replies.
Susan Michaels, co-founder of Pasado’s Safe Haven, an animal welfare
group in Sultan, Wash., that organized scores of volunteers to rescue
pets after Katrina, said she is “appalled” that the charges were
“There couldn’t have been a better case,” she said. “You have an
admission from Minton, a videotape of the shootings, as well as
statements from eyewitnesses. It’s just amazing that this is not being
The charges against Minton and Englande focused on the black Lab and
a pit bull puppy and did not address reports that about three dozen
dogs were shot and killed in three St. Bernard schools after
authorities forced the pets’ owners to leave them behind during
A lawsuit is pending in the school shootings.