BruiserFolse

Kelly Folse of Camille Court in River Ridge is accused of shooting Bruizer, a 15-month-old American Bulldog on Dec. 13.

A lawyer for the veterinarian accused of shooting and killing her neighbor's dog in River Ridge says the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office has "no evidence at all" against his client.

Bob Garrity, the attorney representing 35-year-old veterinarian Kelly Folse, also said detectives are trying to "force a confession out" of her because the Sheriff's Office needed to make "a big splash."

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto, who was appointed to the post by former Sheriff Newell Normand and is campaigning for the permanent job, declined to comment on the evidence against Folse but said "there was nothing done unusual in this case."

The primary to replace Normand is scheduled for March 24. 

Lopinto said Tuesday that Folse was arrested and accused of cruelty to animals after she shot her neighbor's dog "Bruizer" in the head because of its incessant barking.

Folse was booked on illegal discharge of a weapon and for having diazepam and adderall in her house without a prescription.

Bruizer, a 15-month-old American bulldog, was shot on Dec. 13. The owner rushed the dog to Abadie Veterinarian Hospital in Harahan, where Folse worked. Bruizer died the next day.

Folse was not involved in the dog's medical care following the shooting. She was fired after she was accused of killing the dog. 

At a news conference Tuesday, Lopinto said he had wanted to call the media's attention to the case because the dog's killing was "crazy," and he wanted to send a message that animal cruelty was unacceptable.

"This is nuts. I don’t know how else to put it," Lopinto said. "I don’t know what world we’re living on where this is OK."

Lopinto said the dog was in the owner's fenced-in yard at the time it was shot, and that investigators found out Folse had sent texts to the neighbor complaining about the dog before the incident happened.

The JPSO also said Folse was believed to have threatened the dog before because of its barking and because she thought it was aggressive. Investigators said they were unable to find evidence of the dog's aggressive behavior after interviewing neighbors.

Garrity said it is unlikely that there are any texts from his client to her neighbors because Folse doesn't have their phone number.

He did say Folse had put up a Facebook video after the dog got out and "pinned her" on her boat in her driveway. She used social media to ask the neighbors to come get their dog, possibly with impolite language, he added.

Garrity also said that his client called 911 about 11 a.m. the day of the shooting after Bruizer had gotten out and chased an elderly lady on Camille Court, the street in River Ridge where she lives. But that doesn't mean she shot the dog, he said.

He said Folse may have been on a boat fishing in St. Bernard Parish when the JPSO says the shooting happened. So far, however, authorities haven't indicated to Folse exactly what time they believe the shooting occurred, Garrity said. 

Garrity said he has turned over his client's gun, a .40-caliber pistol, to authorities. Lopinto had previously said investigators had not recovered the gun used and didn't know what kind it was. Only bullet fragments were found in the dog's body.

In the meantime, Garrity said, the accusation has left his client "despondent" and afraid for her well-being. She's hiding in a fishing camp in the area, he said, because the social media response to the dog's death has made her "infamous."

"She feels she has to sell her house and move," he said.

Staff writer Ramon Vargas contributed to this report.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.