Last Thursday, officials with the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office and Plaquemine Police arrested Galen Marcantel, 54, at an elderly woman's home on the 58000 block of Delacroix Street. Upon entering the home, authorities found the female victim, who was in her 70s, surrounded by the feces of 16 pets.
Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi stated that the police began inspecting the case after neighbors of the woman informed them that the victim had not been seen in months. They entered her property to discover evidence of animal hoarding, along with the woman in a bed covered with the excrements of 14 dogs and 2 cats. After further investigation, officers learned that the victim spent most of her time in that bed. Moreover, they determined that she was often left alone for hours at a time, in a home with more food fit for animals than people.
Marcantel, who is not related to the victim but had been living with her for several months, was booked into the parish jail under suspicion of cruelty to persons with infirmities. Stassi reported that Marcantel had been taking advantage of the woman for some time, isolating her from her family and eventually filing a restraining order against them. According to the sheriff, the case adds to the rising incidence of elder abuse charges involving individuals inhabiting homes where animals are hoarded. Indeed, in 2019, the Governor's Office for Elderly Affairs reported 1,739 caregiver neglect cases and a similar number of self-neglect cases throughout Louisiana.
Prior to arresting Marcantel, authorities transported the elderly woman to the hospital and removed the animals from her home. As Stassi contended, the victim's property was completely unlivable.