Vidalia police locate 3 sick puppies, 12 cats living in hazardous conditions

Published 3:27 pm Friday, March 31, 2023

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VIDALIA, La. — When Vidalia police officers went to investigate a call about potential code violations at a home on Gregory Street Thursday, they also found three puppies that appeared to be malnourished, cats and drugs on the property.

According to Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill, officers smelled a strong odor resembling marijuana coming from a vehicle parked in the driveway of the house at 809 Gregory Street on Thursday.

“Neighbors complained about a house being messy,” Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill said. “Officers responded to check on it and that’s when they saw the van.”

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Inside, they found synthetic marijuana and methamphetamines as well as three puppies that appeared to be underweight. One of them had severe swelling on its left cheek, he said.

There were also 12 cats living inside the house without running water or electricity, and several other health hazards.

Authorities contacted animal control to seize the animals and the residents were evicted from the house until living conditions are improved.

Police arrested Austin Cole Lord, 27, and charged him with possession of a schedule I drug and aggravated cruelty to animals; Miranda Alexander, 27, with possession of a schedule II drug; and Porter Goodwin, 28, with possession of schedule I and schedule II drugs with a probation and parole hold.

Once the puppies were taken to the Vidalia Dog Pound, manager Deedee Roberts said the youngest of the puppies had tested positive for canine parvovirus, which can be fatal. The other two started presenting symptoms shortly after and very likely have it too, she said.  The youngest one is in critical condition.

“We could tell the littlest one, a little five-pound pit, had a swollen head and I was afraid it was a snake bite,” Roberts said, adding the puppy couldn’t have been more than a week old. The other two dogs were older, around two months old, she said.

“We have to disinfect with bleach, just about the only thing that will get rid of it, and shut down the pound for 10 to 15 days,” she said. “All the dogs we have are vaccinated, but even with a vaccination, they sometimes can still get it.”

Roberts said the Vidalia Dog Pound has an account at Natchez Veterinary Clinic on Liberty Road set up for emergencies. Those who wish to directly help with the puppies’ medical care can send donations there and say that it’s for the Vidalia Dog Pound account, she said.