DA releases statement on graphic dog abuse viral video case

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EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) –

UPDATE:

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore released a statement Thursday evening regarding the case of a juvenile shown on video abusing dogs.

Moore said he shares the same concern for the dogs that many people across the world have shared upon seeing the video on social media. The district attorney cannot release any information about the case because it would violate state laws dealing with the confidentiality of juvenile court proceedings.

However, Moore said he has “filed delinquency petitions against a juvenile alleging cruelty to an animal” which is a misdemeanor offense.

See the district attorney’s full statement below:

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.

RELATED: Why juvenile court is different than adult court

ORIGINAL:

A Baton Rouge juvenile court judge has refused to sign a warrant to arrest a juvenile shown on video abusing dogs.

A Louisiana sheriff who helped investigate the case is outraged by the judge’s actions, saying she is “roadblocking” police efforts to bring justice in the case.

The graphic video, recorded in Baton Rouge, went viral and calls for justice quickly poured in from around the world.

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi first launched a criminal probe earlier this week, but later turned the case over to East Baton Rouge Parish authorities once it was determined the crime happened in EBR Parish.

The juvenile’s face is clearly visible in the video.

“A warrant was put together with the evidence including the video, statements from other witnesses, and a positive ID of the juvenile defendant by the family and other witnesses,” Stassi said. He says the information was brought “to a judge in Baton Rouge and, at this time, she refused to sign the warrant where we could bring this young man to justice.”

Stassi says Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Johnson is the one who made the decision to not sign the arrest warrant. A call to Johnson for comment was not immediately returned.

Because the suspect is a juvenile, all legal proceedings are protected under the law, prohibiting them from being discussed, something District Attorney Hillar Moore says has prevented him from speaking out about the case.

“I would love to be able to tell the public what I know and what has happened, but unfortunately I can’t since the person that has been charged as a juvenile,” said Moore.

Stassi says he has received phone calls from people in at least eight states, and from around the world as well, “begging me to go out and do something about these dogs.”

“Massachusetts. We watching from Michigan. We watching from Colorado. Watching from Oklahoma. I’ve got calls from Australia, Nevada, New York, Maine, Texas, and they continue to call us and ask us questions and that’s why I’m here today, just trying to get answers for the people,” said Stassi.

The owner of the dogs was located and the animals are said to be doing well.

The video is so graphic we have made the editorial decision not to publish it.

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