DESOTO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Fifteen malnourished dogs are recovering in an Ark-La-Tex animal shelter. Meanwhile, their owner sits behind bars facing animal cruelty charges.
DeSoto Parish deputies originally responded to a home about a theft complaint, but say they uncovered a disturbing scene when they got there.
On Tuesday, DeSoto Parish deputies say they uncovered aggressive, starved dogs, barely alive, on a property in the 100 block of Howard Lane in Frierson.
Deputies say 43 year-old Gregory Samuels turned himself in Wednesday afternoon. He faces 15 counts of cruelty to animals.
Neighbors deny anything was wrong next door.
"Nothing went on around here," said next door neighbor Arthur Mitchell.
Here's what neighbor Arthur Mitchell had to say next:
Ben Wolf: "Would you say animal cruelty is a serious thing?
Arthur Mitchell: "No not really."
Ben Wolf: "It's not serious?"
Arthur Mitchell: "No."
DeSoto deputies say they believe Samuels was training many of the dogs to fight, pointing to cuts on their bodies and a small fighting circle they found on his property as evidence.
Deputies say they also found the remains of a dog.
DeSoto Parish doesn't have an animal shelter, so the Louisiana Brand Commission stepped in and helped DeSoto bring the dogs to the Caddo Parish shelter.
Caddo Animal Services Assistant Director Everett Harris says they are only housing the dogs, not helping with the investigation.
"It's very taxing on us and the staff to see animals in condition like that, as animal lovers, we do not want to see stuff like this," said Harris.
Harris' staff will continue to provide vet care, food, and water for the animals until they hear from DeSoto Parish authorities.
DeSoto Parish deputies say other charges are pending against Gregory Samuels.
If you know of an animal cruelty case, authorities urge you to call your local police department or sheriff's office. The number for Caddo Parish Animal Control is (318) 226-6624.