SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The arrest of a former Louisiana deputy fire marshal from Bossier Parish on animal cruelty charges has led to strong reactions in the community.
Authorities arrested Robert Fain after an investigation into the death of his K-9 officer, Maily.
They say the dog died as a result of being malnourished.
Those disturbing claims of abuse, neglect and cruelty to an animal have led many to ask whether there something more the public can do to help.
The answer to that is yes — to a point.
Again, we want to warn you, some may find the images in this story disturbing.
Take a visit to Ninna’s Road to Rescue in Benton and you quickly realize the real need to find more forever homes for those abused and neglected survivors.
Founder Ninna Lopez listed some of the many ways to tell whether a pet like long-haired dogs, for example, need help.
“You look for dreadlocks hanging from them; horribly mat dreadlocks, meaning they’re horribly matted.”
Other potential warning signs, Lopez said, can include everything from goopy eyes to the animal being very thin.
"Emaciated dogs, dogs on chains with no food or water, no shelter."
Lopez has made it her life's work to serve as a rescue center for abused and neglected pets, most often dogs.
She also cautioned animal advocates not to go too far.
"People really should never do something on their own. They should get the authorities involved."
If still nothing happens, Lopez said keep calling.
While many animal activists may have the best intentions, breaking the law is no solution either, she said.
“Don’t try to go on someone’s property. Don’t try to climb fences. Don’t try to cut a dog loose.”
Her shelter holds 20 pets at a time, sometimes a few more.
Lopez credits at least part of their success to the 50 or so volunteers who come out to help each and every week.
“You have to feel like you’re kind of helping because, I mean, if you let it get to ya, you wouldn’t be able to do it,” said Pam Crain, who has volunteered at the shelter for several years.
Adoption is also a big component of Ninna’s Road to Rescue, Lopez said.
But first always comes the compatibility test “... to see if other dogs in the family can get along — or at least tolerate each other, at first.”
Lopez estimated that her shelter helps roughly 350 animals a year.