Humane Society holds sunrise vigil for dog at city shelter

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Gabe Ward poses with newly freed dog, Buddy, as NHS President Juanita Murphy looks on. Ward arrived at the shelter at 7 a.m. as one of only two people able to request the dog’s release.

Nathan Wilson
Volunteers from the Natchitoches Humane Society met pet owner Gabe Ward at dawn outside the Natchitoches Animal Shelter Aug. 19 in a last ditch effort to obtain a reprieve for a dog being housed there.
Buddy (formerly known as Ted), a male rat terrier, was being held in the shelter after a city resident reported being bitten while jogging on Monroe Drive in Natchitoches. In accordance with the shelter’s policy on animals with a record of aggressive behavior, he could not be adopted out or released to anyone except the owner on file. He was scheduled to be euthanized at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 19 if the Wards were unwilling to pay a fine and claim him.

This article published in the Aug. 18, 2022, print edition.

Ward stated that he believes the dog originally belonged to a former neighbor, and he and his wife had only cared for it for a few weeks until a new owner could be found or the previous owner could be located. He explained that he was initially reluctant to reclaim the dog after shelter officials explained the legal responsibilities he would face upon accepting the animal. His last minute change of heart saved the dog from being put down. “Everything we tried to do with these folks, it was by the letter of the law,” he says.
Shelter Director Jonathan Meziere reunites Buddy with Ward. The pup was allegedly scheduled to be euthanized Friday.

Shelter Director Jonathan Meziere warned Ward and others present to be mindful of the dog’s aggressive behavior. “Be careful, you got one reported and one suspected bite with this dog,” he said. The identity of the victim was not released by shelter officials, but Ward’s wife was cited for allowing the dog and several other dogs involved in the incident to roam at large. Meziere stated that the dog had nipped the jogger’s derriere, but that Ward’s wife and another neighbor had also alluded to it biting a child’s hand during the subsequent investigation.
Shelter Director Jonathan Meziere examines the relevant ordinance regarding aggressive animals.