Oakdale man pleads guilty to snake violations

The following is a Press Release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:

An Oakdale man pleaded guilty to cruelty of animal charges in Allen Parish's 33rd Judicial District Court on Oct. 6.

Judge Joel Davis sentenced David Beauchemin, 43, to two years of jail with one year suspended and a $1,000 fine that must be paid within 60 days of being released from prison or he will serve the suspended year of jail.  Beauchemin will receive credit for time served since May and was booked into the Allen Parish Jail.  Beauchemin pleaded guilty to aggravated and simple cruelty to animals.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited David Beauchemin and his wife Tawni Beauchemin, 23, on March 20, 2010, for cruelty to animals and failing to have permits for constrictor snakes over 12 feet.

The Allen Parish Sheriff's Office (APSO) executed a search warrant at the Beauchemin's residence on March 19.  The search warrant was issued after the APSO received a public complaint alleging the Beauchemin's were illegally selling animals on the Internet.  The Beauchemin's residence was portrayed as a safe haven animal shelter.  After executing the search warrant, the APSO contacted LDWF about the pythons found in the residence.

The snakes were seized by LDWF agents and then forfeited to the state following the guilty plea.  LDWF found a suitable place for the snakes at the Glade Herps Farm located in Bushnell, Fla. during the criminal trial period.  Following the forfeiture, LDWF has agreed to let the Glade Herps Farm become the permanent owners of the snakes.

On Sept. 2, 2010, David Beauchemin failed to appear in Allen Parish Court for arraignment and a bench warrant was issued.  In April 2011, David Beauchemin was arrested in Texas and found to be in possession of numerous constrictor snakes after a traffic stop.  David Beauchemin was extradited to Allen Parish in May 2011.

Tawni Beauchemin, was originally charged along with her husband and still has outstanding warrants, but her whereabouts are unknown and she currently has the status of a fugitive.

The public complaint was issued after somebody gave the Beauchemin's a dog for safe haven only to find it listed on the Internet a few days later for sale.