OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – An Opelousas woman sits behind bars and is confronted with 174 cases of animal cruelty.
According to police, Anita Belaire ran a secret puppy mill where she neglected nearly 300 dogs and puppies.
The director of the St. Landy Parish animal shelter told News 10 in February that she had received a tip that Belaire had a large puppy mill in her home.
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She went undercover to buy a puppy and through her investigation, police discovered that Belaire had been clandestine for over 20 years.
She was arrested on Thursday.
“I don’t even know the words to describe it. It is very encouraging that we got their arrest because these little dogs really deserve better than they had, ”said the shelter’s director Terri Courville.
When police raided Belaire’s home in February, they confiscated nearly 300 dogs and puppies after finding them in dire living conditions, Courville said.
“The stench was so bad you actually had to go outside and put Vicks on your face. When you went back inside, your eyes burned. It was about 2 x 2 cardboard boxes with dogs just packed in wire, no bed, no box, six and seven to a little tiny box, just screaming. It was horrible, “she told News 10.
Courville says of the nearly 300 dogs, 235 of them are older dogs that breed litter after litter every year.
She says they found dogs with broken jaws, protruding eyes, and dental infections that were so bad that there was an abscess on some of their faces.
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“They had mats so thick that some of them almost couldn’t walk. They would just pull. One of them weighed five pounds, six ounces, and when we finished shaving it weighed a little over a pound, ”she said.
The dogs were immediately confiscated from the Belaire puppy mill, given medical care and taken to animal shelters, where they are now being adopted and cared for.
After three months fighting for her right to keep the animals, Belaire was arrested and charged with 174 animal cruelty charges.
Courville says, despite Belaire’s arrest, they are now working with St. Landry Township officials to create new rules and regulations to deter them and others from running a different puppy mill like the one at their home.