Louisiana veterinarian awaiting trial in fatal dog shooting case
Rachael Zimlich, BSN, RN
Freelance writer Rachael Zimlich worked as a reporter for dvm360 magazine before returning to school to become a registered nurse. She now works at The Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Kelly Folses attorney maintains his clients innocence, says her gun was not the weapon used.
Dr. Kelly Folse (photo courtesy of Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office)Kelly Folse, DVM, is at home on bond awaiting trial after her Dec. 19 arrest in Louisiana for allegedly shooting and killing her neighbor's 15-month-old bulldog, Bruizer, six days earlier. Her attorney, who spoke with dvm360, says Dr. Folse has been unable to find employment as a result of the charges brought against her.
According to the court affidavit for the charges filed against the 35-year-old veterinarian, Dr. Folse “shot her neighbor's dog in the head, killing him.” The dog was in its backyard, which borders an elementary school, at the time of the shooting.
The dog was taken to Abadie Veterinary Hospital in Harahan, Louisinana, where Dr. Folse also happened to be employed as a veterinarian, but had to be euthanized, according to local reports. Dr. Folse was not involved in the dog's care.
Dr. Folse's attorney, Robert Garrity Jr., told dvm360 in an exclusive interview that Dr. Folse would not be commenting on the charges but that she was shocked when she reported to work Dec. 14 to find she'd been fired in response to the accusation from the pet owners that she'd shot their dog. Dr. Folse had worked at Abadie, first as a veterinary technician and later as a veterinarian, for about 20 years.
Scott Abadie, DVM, owner of Abadie Animal Hospital, did not return calls seeking comment.
In addition to a cruelty to animals charge filed Feb. 21 by the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office, Dr. Folse was also charged with illegal discharge of a firearm for the crime's proximity to a school, as well as two drug charges. The drug charges stem from officers' discovery during a search of Dr. Folse's home at the time of her arrest of four half-pills of 500-mg methocarbamol, three-and-a-half 10-mg diazepam tablets and 18 Adderall pills, all of which were in prescription bottles bearing Dr. Folse's name. Dr. Folse could not produce prescriptions for any of the medications confiscated by police, according to court records.
Garrity had just received information about the charges from the district attorney's office when reached for comment by dvm360 and declined to discuss the specifics of the case, but he did note that his team would be unable to get any physical information about the dog since it had been cremated. He said he doesn't believe a necropsy was performed.
Garrity has accused the sheriff's office in local media reports of pursuing a case against Dr. Folse for political purposes to win an upcoming election. He says Dr. Folse is innocent and that the dog had been causing problems for everyone in the neighborhood.
“We are 99 and nine-tenths percent sure that her gun did not shoot that dog,” Garrity told dvm360.
In response to the charges related to the medications found in Dr. Folse's home at the time of her arrest, Garrity says they were for rescue dogs she cared for in her home, and he claims that the law does not require her to have a prescription when she is operating within the course of her license.
“I think the state's just being chicken-shit with those two charges,” Garrity says.
According to the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Folse's license remains active at this time, but Garrity says she's been unable to find work because of the pending charges.
“She's kryptonite right now,” Garrity says. “She's unemployable.”
A pretrial hearing for Dr. Folse is scheduled for April 26, and Garrity says he hopes her trial will take place this summer.
Rachael Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio, and a former reporter for dvm360 magazine.