A 55-year-old Breaux Bridge has been arrested after a bag of eight newborn black lab puppies was thrown into a bayou in St. Martin Parish on Sunday.

Gary James Goulas was arrested Friday on eight counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, according to a statement from St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Maj. Ginny Higgins.

Around 2 p.m. Sunday, a fisherman saw a man in a single cab white truck stop briefly and toss a bag into the water. Thinking it was litter, he picked up the bag and found the puppies inside, according to a Human Society of Louisiana post.

The rescue happened around 2 p.m. Sunday near the bridge by Potato Shed Road in Henderson, the sheriff’s office said.

After being rescued, the puppies were placed with Precious Paw Prints Animal Rescue in Acadia Parish and then transferred to Every Paw Animal Rescue, a small humane group in Evangeline Parish.

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Group volunteers have been bottle feeding the young puppies, estimated to be between three and five days old when they were rescued, and have given them antibiotics to ward off respiratory infections after getting wet and cold in the bayou, Humane Society executive director Jeff Dorson said in a Facebook post.

Every Paw Animal Rescue said in a Wednesday Facebook post that the puppies were thriving, active and growing. Despite their exposure to the damp, cold conditions, their lungs were sounding strong. 

"These are most definitely miracle babies and thanks to so many involved they will be able to have a chance. We will be able to show them that not all humans are heartless and unloving," the agency wrote. 

The group is raising funds via its Facebook page to cover the cost of the puppies' shots and additional veterinary care. 

Email Katie Gagliano at kgagliano@theadvocate.com