POSTED: Monday, March 19, 2012 - 5:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 9:32am
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Shortly before 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 18, one Baton Rouge woman says she heard a sound that sent a chill up her spine.
“We were in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart of Siegen Lane. As I opened my door, I heard this dog yelping at the top of its lungs,” the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, recalled. “I saw this man in the backseat of his car lying across the floorboard. He was punching at something. I realized it was a little dog.”
Hearing the distress of the dog, the woman, who we will call Mary from this point on, decided to approach the man.
“I wish I would have gotten it on video, but it all happened so fast,” Mary described. “I ran over to him and said three times very loud for him to ‘stop it.’ I mean, he was beating him so hard.
“The third time I said it he got out of the car and turned to me and told me to mind my own business or else he would punch me! He threatened to punch my mother, too.”
That’s when Mary says she felt seriously threatened and called 911 for help.
“The man went into the store and I called the Sheriff,” she says. “I got his license plate number and details on the make of the car.”
Fearing her own safety, Mary removed herself from the immediate area and waited for law enforcement from a safe distance. Unfortunately, the man left before a deputy could respond.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, however, says she did the right thing.
“If someone feels that they are witnessing an animal being abused they should report it immediately to either law enforcement or their local animal control center,” Casey Rayborn-Hicks, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, explained.
Hilton Cole with East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control notes that it is best to contact law enforcement first as it can be dangerous to get involved with a case of animal cruelty.
“If a citizen sees a cruelty to animals’ case, and it’s ongoing and violent, the best thing to do is call local law enforcement agency,” he explained. “There’s a correlation between those who are willing to abuse an animal and someone who would attack a person. A citizen has to be very careful about getting involved in a cruelty case for this reason.”
Once a complaint is made, it will be investigated by law enforcement. From there, it is up to the witness on whether or not the case will move forward.
“Once we get involved, if we have evidence and the citizen is willing to testify, we will bring charges and get an arrest warrant,” Cole explained. We would be more than willing to go to court on behalf of the witness for a cruelty case.”
For now, Mary says she will not drop the issue.
“My feeling is this, if this guy can do this to a dog in public, what else could he do to that dog – or someone else – in private.”
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating this case.