Owner cited for severely malnourished dog

Kai is a 20-month-old black lab whose current condition went viral on social media.

She lived outside of a home on Fetn St. in Vacherie, La. in St. James Parish.

Terrence White, of Vacherie, the registered owner of the dog, was charged with one count of cruelty to animals. Kai was taken to an animal shelter and has since been fostered to a family.

The home belongs to a current St. James Parish Sheriff’s sergeant and her husband. Many have raised questions why the sergeant was not charged as well for the dog’s condition.

“She’s being harshly judged as being a deputy breaking the law when that’s not the case,” said St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin.

Sheriff Martin said the pictures were brought to his attention over the weekend on a Sunday.

“I immediately responded and forwarded that email to my commanders and had someone get out there ASAP,” said Sheriff Martin. “As a result, the same day, the family was directed to get the dog to a vet immediately and they did what we asked them to do.”

The family took Kai to an animal hospital in Ascension Parish.

They diagnosed Kai with several things such as having hookworms, fleas, muscle atrophy, hypoproteinemia & suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, anemia and being severely underweight. Kai only weighed 24.80 pounds, that’s half of what the recommended weight is for a female dog her age, 55-70 lbs.

The report from the animal clinic was provided to Unfiltered with Kiran.

In the report, Kai’s owner Terrence White, allegedly asked the animal clinic if they would “…write in the records that Kai was not malnourished and underweight.” The hospital’s notes dictate the person on the phone said “No, we could not lie on her records and he proceeded to ask me multiple more times. Afterwards, he kept saying he was going to lose his job and if we could write on the records that the animal’s condition wasn’t his fault. I also said no to this request.”

The hospital’s notes said “Kai is in severely poor condition and needs aggressive therapy and additional diagnostics to get her back to a normal healthy status. Her condition can become fatal if she becomes much more anemic and does not obtain proper nutrition and treatment isn’t instituted quickly.”

Kai could still walk, but barely. She has minimal, if any, muscle mass and her ribs were very visible. There were fleas all over her body and she had not been vaccinated. Kai was an outside dog who had been vomiting anything she ate the last month.

The hospital recommended several things for Kai but White declined majority of the recommendations.

Sheriff Martin said the reason only White has been charged is because his sergeant told him the two had recently married. She repeatedly told her husband she did not want the dog, she was scared of the dog and even tried to give away the dog for adoption or to a shelter. However, her husband wanted to keep her.

“She made it clear to me that she never approved of the dog being there. She made it clear that it was his to maintain. She tried to do the right thing of trying to give the dog away, take it to a shelter and things like that,” said Sheriff Martin. “I don’t see neglect at that point. I did not see anything criminal intent wise on her part. If it’s about justice for the dog. We’re holding the man accountable for the dog but I don’t feel she hated the dog and purposely neglected it and brings it to the point of criminal charges for her.”

It came down to White not being able to afford Kai’s proper care, which led to her current condition.

Sheriff Martin said White was ordered to take Kai to a vet that day, which was a Sunday when majority of vets are closed. They did find one open and paid the vet bill.

After the check-up at the vet, the report was turned over to the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office, which led to White’s charge for one count of cruelty to animals.

Kai has since been relinquished to Hail Mary Rescue and is being fostered.

“Did dog look bad? Yes. The public thinks my deputy should be cited. We did the criminal side of the investigation first. We didn’t want internal affairs done before criminal so we have an internal affairs hearing scheduled for this week,” said the sheriff.

The internal affairs hearing will give the sheriff & sergeant an opportunity to address whether or not all policies or procedures were followed.

“If my sergeant was or is in the wrong, she will be charged. As of now, I don’t see she did anything criminally wrong. The person who did, her husband, has been charged. This was his dog and he brought Kai into this relationship,” said Sheriff Martin. “But I’m also not going to simply charge my sergeant because of public pressure. We have a job to do and we will do it to the best of our abilities.”

Sgt. White has been with the St. James Sheriff’s Office since 2014. She started in corrections and was recently promoted to sergeant.

About Kiran Chawla 775 Articles
I'm an Emmy & Murrow Award winning investigative reporter who simply loves my job!

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