Gonzales, LA (FOX44) — A case of animal cruelty is being described as the worst ever seen by local animal rescuers, and life-changing for those who uncovered it.
A dog was tortured, killed, and left in the middle of a Gonzales hay field. It was discovered Sunday by a worker who was collecting hay.
The dog's legs were bound together with electrical tape, and its mouth was taped shut. There was also tape around the dog's neck. The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office said the dog had decomposed to the point that its breed could not be determined.
"I couldn't even tell if it was male or female," said Ranji Bercegeay, whose brother owns the field on Black Bayou Extension where the dog was found.
Bercegeay worked with sheriff's deputies and animal activists to collect information about the dog. He eventually got permission from the sheriff's office to bury it on the property.
"No sleep at all (Monday) night," he stated, "just having that memory play through your mind. It's gotten to where I don't, I didn't even eat (Monday) night or eat (Tuesday). The smell was horrendous and your mind just recalls that, what the smells like, and the horror of what that looks like."
While Bercegeay was attending to the dead dog, he and his family found a decomposed cat in the field, as well.
"It was not bound," he said. "And there's another stench coming from the back of the property here, and (Wednesday) I'm hoping to ride and take a look, and see what we can find."
Detectives sent samples of flesh and the tape from the dog's body to the Louisiana State Police crime lab for testing. If they make an arrest, the suspect would likely be charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty and criminal trespassing.
Animal rescuers often hear about cases of abuse, because that is part of their job. Helen Morales, who volunteers with Companion Animal Rescue of Ascension, spent time with the Bercegeay family and investigators at the scene.
"You hear about a lot more (because of the job) than you ever thought was even possible, but this is the worst thing I've ever seen," she said.
Bercegeay described the neighborhood as the type of place where families want to live, and said it rarely has problems.
"And especially anything like this," he added. "There's really a spirit of death out here."
Morales hopes the person who killed the dog ends up either in a mental health facility or a prison.
"Because those people are very unstable and they're very dangerous," she stated. "And something like this leads to more heinous crime."