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Arrests Made in Theft and Killing of Calf in Pointe Coupee Parish
September 29, 2015
Two men are accused of animal cruelty for shooting and killing a calf while four are accused of stealing the animal for its meat.
On September 22, 2015, a cattleman found a dead calf on the spillway levee near Morganza. Pointe Coupee Parish deputies observed the calf had been shot and one hindquarter and a loin had been removed. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Livestock Brand Commission was contacted to assist in investigating the case.
After interviewing possible witnesses, it was discovered that four suspects left Morganza together with the intention of riding down the levee to kill a cow. Investigators say the suspects drove to an area where there were cattle on the levee and one of the suspects, Austin Leonard, fired a gun at the fleeing cattle but did not kill any of those cattle. According to investigators, during the night, two of the suspects, Austin Leonard and James Cole Devillier, drove back to the levee where Austin Leonard shot and killed a calf with a 12 gauge shot gun. Investigators say Leonard and Devillier enlisted the help of Kale Ashten David and Dustin James Vidrine to load the calf. Once the four returned to get the calf, they realized it was too big to load so they removed one hindquarter and one loin. The leg bone was discarded in a trash can down the road from David’s residence.
Investigators say the suspects admitted their involvement during interviews.
“The LDAF Livestock Brand Commission closely works with law enforcement to quickly solve crimes, bring these criminals to justice and hopefully deter others from committing such heinous acts. If we find out you’ve stolen property and abused that property, we will hold you accountable,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
A 12 gauge shot gun and some of the meat were recovered. A discarded leg bone was discovered in the garbage can where Leonard said he discarded it. All four suspects were arrested and booked into the Pointe Coupee Parish Jail September 25, 2015, charged with theft of livestock for participating in taking the meat. Leonard and Devillier were also charged with aggravated cruelty to animals for allegedly killing of the calf. Leonard was also charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon because he is a felon on probation for a prior felony incident.