Parish officials make arrest in cruelty to animal case

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 8, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; Cruelty to animals is something animal control officers in Concordia Parish won&8217;t allow, and they can make the arrests to prove it.

Wednesday Lisa Smith and Lyn Latimer of the Concordia Animal Welfare Shelter served a warrant on Debbie Palmer

&8212; one that put her in jail for the night.

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Thursday, they served another that took a horse from her.

That horse, Sugar, is just one of Palmer&8217;s approximately 50 horses, the rest of which will soon be taken from her as well.

The warrants were issued by Seventh District Judge Kathy Johnson at the behest of Smith and Latimer.

Smith and Latimer, who also serve as the parish&8217;s animal control officers, said Palmer, a nurse, was an &8220;animal hoarder&8221; and unable to provide proper care for her animals.

&8220;Sometimes people have good intentions but can&8217;t keep up with the responsibility of caring for them,&8221; Smith said.

Thursday morning, Palmer, 49, was released after posting $25,000 bond on one count of cruelty to animals. The conditions of her bond require her to make an appointment for a psychiatric examination within five days and make arrangements for care of all her animals within three days. She is not allowed to maintain any pets.

When reached by phone at her home, Palmer said she was unhappy about &8220;trumped-up charges&8221; and planned to contest the matter in court.

Palmer, 930 Eagle Road, Vidalia, faces six counts of animals at large and 10 counts of cruelty to animals from a February arrest.

She is scheduled for arraignment before Division B Judge Leo Boothe on April 12. It is likely any additional charges will be transferred to Boothe&8217;s division.

As animal control officers, Smith and Latimer have the authority to enforce animal safety and cruelty laws.

Smith thanked the Concordia Parish Sheriff&8217;s Office for its help in helping them enforce the laws.

While Palmer could face jail time on the charges facing her, Latimer said that&8217;s not what they want to come from this.

&8220;We just want the horses to be healthy and taken care of the right way,&8221; she said.

Smith said she would like to see Palmer educated in caring for animals and, once done, &8220;we hope she&8217;s able to have some horses.&8221;

After being seized, Sugar was taken to a nearby farm where it will be rehabilitated and treated for rain rot, malnutrition and anything else the blood test reveals.

Smith and Latimer executed a warrant for the seizure of another of Palmer&8217;s horses on Wednesday, but Classy was not on the levee pasture area Palmer leases.

Palmer told them someone must have come and taken the horse during the night but she didn&8217;t know who did, or where they took it.

Smith said there is a reward being offered through CAWS for any information leading to Classy&8217;s being found. Call (318) 757-2297 to report information.