Sun, Feb 24, 2013
Stewart, who is the owner of A Jazzy Dog (3995 Pontchartrain Drive), has been the center of a joint investigation conducted by the Slidell Police Department and the City of Slidell’s Animal Control Division. Towards the end of January, two employees came forward to file an official complaint against Stewart citing severe animal cruelty allegations. The witnesses stated that Stewart would frequently slam the dogs onto the grooming table and proceed to choke them with a leash. During one occasion, Stewart aledgedly hung a dog in the air causing the animal to go into a seizure. In other instances, Stewart would grab a dog’s face and would slam it into the grooming table, or would strangle the dogs.
While the allegations against Stewart were being investigated, another witness came forward who worked for Stewart less than a day. The witness stated she applied for an open groomer’s position and was asked to demonstrate her grooming skills on an elderly dog. The potential employee was attempting to groom the dog, but the dog refused to stand up on the grooming table. Stewart interjected and said, “Watch this. If they won’t stand, this is what I do.” Stewart then picked up the elderly dog and slammed him on the grooming table multiple times. Stewart then slapped another dog off the grooming table, causing the animal to dangle from the leash for at least twenty seconds. When the potential employee tried to help the struggling dog, Stewart pushed her back and said that she would handle it. The girl, who initially wanted the job, walked out and never returned.
Detectives attempted to question Stewart about the animal abuse allegations. Stewart stated she would simply discipline the animals if they refused to listen, but never abused them. Stewart refused to answer any further questions. Based off the evidence gathered by the investigation, Slidell Police obtained a warrant for Stewart’s arrest and arrested her early this afternoon at her business, A Jazzy Dog. Slidell Police is asking anyone who suspects their animal was a victim to contact the Slidell Police Criminal Investigations Division at 985-646-4347. The case is still under investigation, and more charges could be filed at a later date.
Under the Aggravated Cruelty to Animals criminal statute (L.R.S. 14:102.1), Louisiana law states: The offender shall be ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation and subsequently recommended psychological treatment and shall be banned by court order from owning or keeping animals for a period of time deemed appropriate by the court. Whoever commits the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals shall be fined not less than five thousand dollars nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or both.