Four beautiful kittens are safe and two men were arrested thanks to an animal control director who feared the kittens might come to harm and followed up on them.
Mary Gray, Walker, LA Animal Control Shelter Director, followed a man out into the parking lot and got his truck model and license tag number after he became enraged when the shelter wouldn’t take the four kittens he tried to leave with them on July 9.
Satsuma resident Victor Romero brought the kittens to the shelter, claiming he’d found them on South Satsuma Road. When shelter officials explained that they were unable to accept animals from beyond the Walker city limits Romero went into a rage and, upon leaving, said he’d solve the problem another way.
Mary Gray managed to get a photo with her cell phone as she observed Romero getting into a pickup truck driven by another man and speeding off. She was able to give police a description of the truck and the men. Police got the license plate number from the photo and traced the registration.
“Animal Control officials reported that a blue Dodge pickup truck occupied by the two men rapidly accelerated out of the Shelter parking lot,” reported Captain John Sharp, Walker Police Public Information Officer. “Upon reaching Ballpark Road, the truck stopped and the kittens were thrown from the passenger side window onto the roadway. The two men then fled the area at a high rate of speed.”
This time, Animal Control took the kittens, quickly gathering them up from the scene and bringing them to the shelter. Fortunately, the kittens were unharmed.
“We were pleased to learn that as the subjects were leaving the Shelter, the Animal Control Director photographed the rear of the truck with her cell phone,” Captain Sharp stated. “Thanks to the quick thinking of the Director, the photograph was available for use in our investigation. Without the photo to use as a starting point, it would have been very difficult to determine the identity of the suspects.”
“Although we knew the occupants of the truck had been men, the truck was found to be registered to a woman,” said Captain Sharp. “But with the identity of the truck owner known, we were able to use various resources to identify male family members and known associates of the truck’s owner. With that information, photographs of potential suspects were obtained and shown to Animal Control officials who were able to identify the suspects, both of whom were relatives of the truck owner.”
Victor Romano, 31, was arrested by Walker police and charged with four counts of animal cruelty on July 18. Cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor in the jurisdiction. He was issued summonses for the violations.
Victor Romano’s father Oscar Romano was arrested on July 24.
Oscar Romano denied any involvement in the kitten abandonment when police visited him at his home. The truck is registered to Oscar’s wife, who is Victor’s stepmother.
After the officers left the home, Victor called the police and confessed to throwing the kittens from the truck. He told police his father was driving the truck.
“Oscar Romero was charged with four counts of being a principal to cruelty to animals,” said Captain Sharp. “We originally intended on charging Mr. Romero with only the animal cruelty counts and issuing him a misdemeanor summons. However, when Walker Officer Mitchell Fouse advised Mr. Romero of the charges against him, Mr. Romero regrettably demonstrated poor judgment, indicating to Officer Fouse that he was not inclined to cooperate. Consequently, and following a brief and unsuccessful struggle, Mr. Romero was arrested, taken into custody and booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on the animal cruelty charges, as well as careless operation, driving under suspension and resisting arrest.”
Oscar Romero subsequently posted a $3,530.00 bond and was released from jail.
If found guilty of the animal cruelty charges, each Romero man could be fined up to $500.00 and sentenced up to 60 days in jail on each count. Oscar Romero faces additional penalties in connection with the charges of resisting arrest, driving under suspension and careless operation.