Big Muddy murk

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1997:

NEW ORLEANS––Mule carriage
driver Milton “Patch” Oliney, 58, of
New Orleans, was charged September 31
with second degree murder for allegedly
knifing George Languirand, 51, in a French
Quarter dispute over how Oliney bitted his
mule. Co-workers said Languirand apparently
intervened after an unidentified
woman hurt the mule, who reportedly suffered
a three-inch cut. Others said the
woman accused Patch of bitting the mule
painfully, and tried to refit the bit herself.
In January 1997 the Louisiana
SPCA reportedly cited the stable for which
Oliney drives––one of two that serve French
Quarter tourists––for alleged unsanitary conditions
and improperly harnessing.

New Orleans activists have
protested alleged carriage mule abuse off
and on since 1986. One of the first activities
of Legislation In Support of Animals,
formed in 1988, was organizing “mule
patrols” to prevent cruelty to the mules.
Confrontations escalated about five years
ago when a third carriage firm, owned by
New Orleans mayor Sidney Barthelme’s
daughter, was allowed into the Quarter with
horse-drawn vehicles, formerly barred,
ostensibly for safety reasons.
An unrelated animal issue on the
far side of the Mississippi River took a turn
a week earlier when on September 23
Missisippi state wardens cited Jefferson
Parish Sheriff Harry Lee, sheriff’s office
staffers P.J. Hahn and Danny Russo, and
veterinarian Steve Slaton for illegally hunting
doves over a baited field near Tylertown.
Retired judge Jack Bass, who leased hunting
rights to the wheat field, said he had no
idea where the corn found there came from.
An avid hunter, Lee has been
called trigger-happy as he and the Jefferson
Parish SWAT team have massacred more
than 6,000 nutria in recent years along the
Jefferson Parish canals. The nutria are
accused of damaging levees and undermining
roads, but LISA ascribes the damage to
poor construction and maintenance

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