Animal Cruelty, Facebook via St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office

Horrific photos indicate alleged animal abuse out of Amelia, near Morgan City in St. Mary Parish.

43-year-old Artemio Rodriguez and 44-year-old Maria Ortiz - both of Amelia - and 61-year-old Jesus Fernandez of Morgan City have each been arrested over the last few days after a traffic stop on Fernandez allegedly turned up drugs and chickens in cages that appeared to have been used in cockfighting.

Animal Cruelty, Facebook via St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office

The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, executed a search warrant at a residence in Amelia on Tuesday, finding chickens, sheep, and other animals found to be in poor condition and without proper food and water. Dead chickens were also found on the property. 166 chickens and 16 sheep/goats were seized.

St. Mary Parish Sheriff Blaise Smith says an investigation into the alleged animal cruelty began in September of 2020, resulting in the three arrests.

Fernandez was arrested on August 7th and transported to the St. Mary Parish Law Enforcement Center for booking and was later released on a $31,750 bond on the following charges:

  • Improper lane usage
  • Possession of schedule II with intent to distribute (cocaine)
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Transactions involving drug proceeds
Rodriguez and Ortiz were each arrested on a warrant for animal cruelty. They were released on a summons to appear on November 2, 2021.
Wanted Photo, St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office
Fernandez was arrested again today on additional charges of animal cruelty and cockfighting. Deputies are searching for Fernandez, who is also accused of selling drugs in the Morgan City area as well.
“Animal cruelty will not be tolerated in St. Mary Parish," says Sheriff Smith. "My message is simple: if you know something, say something. Contact us with any information you have concerning this.”
Citizens with information on the location of Jesus Fernandez may call and report it to the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office Communications Section at (337) 828-1960.

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