Man arrested for cruelty to animals after years of reports

A man was arrested for alleged cruelty to animals after multiple reports were filed by his neighbor since 2020.

Merlin Avet was arrested by the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 22, and animal control has since started picking up the dogs. According to his neighbor Shannon, eleven dogs were picked up Wednesday night, more were picked up Thursday morning and they are setting traps and trying to catch the rest of the outdoor dogs.

“I didn’t want it to get to that point that he was arrested for animal cruelty and that the animals were brought to the shelter and euthanized. I didn’t want it to come to this,” Shannon said. She will be referred to by first name only for privacy reasons.

Shannon claims Avet’s dogs have repeatedly gotten onto her property: some killed her chickens, one chased her nephew and another dog took her sister’s purse.

She said Avet compensated her for the first time the dogs killed her chickens but that this issue has gone on for years.

Shannon claims she filed multiple reports with LPSO over the years and made a report with the parish president’s compliance department for the state of his property.

“There is a canal right by his property and there are so many broken vehicles with conditions going in waterways,” she said.

LPSO said they are working with animal control to care for the animals “especially during this cold weather,” but nothing has been announced for the state of the property.

Shannon claims rats will run down the road from his property, and that they do not know how many dogs he has because they hide beneath the cars.

“It’s a sad situation, completely unnecessary, very sad. They kept breeding. Probably in the last month or two, my sisters said there are more puppies over there. It’s sad, it’s very sad. I feel sorry for the dogs,” said Shannon.

She said she did not want it to come to the point where the dogs may be euthanized at the shelter, but that she would, “rather them be humanely euthanized than slowly freeze to death.”

In response to the arrest and the previous reports, LPSO said:

“The arrest was made due to the animals’ living conditions. That investigation is ongoing. Due to the life-threatening temperatures we are currently experiencing, we asked Livingston animal control to step in to find adequate shelter for the animals. They did. So did family members. We will continue working with all to determine the next best steps.”

In this cold weather please be sure to bring your animals inside and provide adequate shelter for animals that have to stay outside.

Avet has since bonded out of the Livingston Parish prison on a $500 bond.

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