Ernest SingletonSt. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Ernest Jay Singleton arrested on July 18 and charged with 17 counts of cruelty to animals is now on a two week unpaid suspension while an investigation is underway into the allegations of dogfighting.

Prosecutors say an anonymous call to the Saint Martin Parish Animal Control office lead to Singleton’s arrest Wednesday on 17 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. The nine year veteran sheriff’s deputy arrived home while the investigators were on scene. Singleton claims he never used any of his dogs for fighting.

Prosecutors are painting a much different picture. Assistant District Attorney Chester Cedars says once all the evidence is examined the charges could be upgraded. Cedars says just with the evidence now that looks almost certain.

Saint Martin Parish authorities say some of theDog dogs have been euthanized because they were considered too dangerous to rehabilitate, mainly the pit bulls seized. They say some of the canines were English and American bulldogs. Those dogs are being examined to determine if they’re safe. Singleton says the fact he owned other breeds is further proof he does not participate in dog fighting.

Prosecutors say these upgraded charges could take place within a week. But now there’s another investigation underway that could be related to this case.

Animal Control investigators seized three pit bull puppies and a female pit bull Friday from behind a burned out home located next to Singleton’s home on the Henderson Highway.

Authorities say this investigation is linked to the Singleton case, but few details are available. (KLFY)

And this is one of the men that is supposed to be protecting the people and animals of the parish?! What a disgrace! The original report told of dogs that had scars, injured feet and were found covered in feces and urine.

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