LSU Allegedly Bought Live Shelter Dogs for Research

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals , the Louisiana State University veterinary school may have violated the federal Animal Welfare Act by buying dogs — both alive and dead — from a Baton Rouge animal shelter.

PETA asserts that a whistleblower reached out to them — a former executive director of the Companion Animal Alliance, a Baton Rouge animal shelter.

That individual reportedly gave PETA documentary proof of an unofficial arrangement between the Companion Animal Alliance and LSU to send the school live and dead animals for use in anatomy courses.

The whistleblower indicated that LSU purchased animal cadavers for $20 each and live dogs for $40 each. PETA claims that at least 70 live dogs were supplied for this purpose in 2018 alone.

Assuming these allegations are in fact true, LSU would have violated the Animal Welfare Act at least 140 times.

animal surgery

Photo credit: Getty Images

The Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. § 2137) states:

[It] shall be unlawful for any research facility to purchase any dog or cat from any person except an operator of an auction sale subject to section 2142 of this title or a person holding a valid license as a dealer or exhibitor… pursuant to this chapter.

And PETA maintains that Companion Animal Alliance has no such dealer/exhibitor license.

Additionally, the regulation implementing the Animal Welfare Act (9 C.F.R. § 2.31) requires that LSU “make, keep, and maintain records or forms which fully and correctly disclose… information concerning each live dog or cat purchased or acquired, transported, euthanized, sold or disposed of by the research facility.”

Despite repeated requests for these records, LSU informed PETA that it had no responsive records for that particular request. The records LSU did release are appended to PETA’s complaint letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which you can see here. They include emails between LSU and the shelter regarding the dogs to be provided.

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine denied PETA’s allegations in a statement:

The cadavers are used to train veterinary students, whose life work is dedicated to serving and saving animals. In some cases, live animals are brought to the veterinary school for euthanasia. In all of these cases, the animals were already scheduled for euthanasia.

The Companion Animal Alliance’s board was not aware that it was sending live dogs to LSU for research until the shelter’s former executive director, Desiree Bender, told them so, according to Christel Slaughter, the shelter’s chairperson.

Slaughter told that the board terminated Bender’s employment in October 2018 and passed a resolution at that time to stop providing animals to LSU or other institutions for research use.

Perhaps most distressing finding is that the shelter apparently provided LSU with dogs that had been impounded by animal control as strays or loose dogs. PETA says the shelter marked those dogs as “adopted” or “released” in its records.

adoptable dog ad

Screen capture of an ad that PETA alleges shows a dog sold to LSU by a Baton Rouge animal shelter.

PETA says one of those dogs, Cajun, still shows up on a pet adoption site as having found a new home, even though the organization has seen evidence that Cajun was one of the dogs sold to LSU.

So is there a problem here or not?

On one hand, we love animals and want medical experts trained and ready to help them when they have veterinary problems. Without question, we need veterinarians and vet techs who are well trained by schools like LSU.

On the other hand, we need those same institutions to abide by animal welfare laws. If LSU did violate the AWA, those practices need to stop immediately.

That said, it’s not illegal for a veterinary school to obtain animal cadavers and live animals for teaching purposes. The only real violation here was the place from which LSU allegedly got those animals. Had they obtained them from a properly licensed facility, their actions would have been perfectly legal. But there are still many ways in which the Animal Welfare Act fails to protect animals.


Do you want to tell LSU to stop obtaining animals from inappropriate facilities like animal shelters? If so, please sign this petition. Care2 will see that it gets to Dr. Joel D. Baines, Dean of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, so he and the school’s entire administrative staff know that you are one of the many people who object to these practices and don’t want them repeated.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo credit: Getty Images


Kay M
Kay Myesterday

Good afternoon and thank you for this article- being from LOUISIANA - I AM HORRIFIED at the shelter that would lie ---saying the beautiful dogs were adopted --when in fact they sold them to the research university THESE PEOPLE ARE MONSTERS AND SHOULD BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW--AND LSU SHOULD NOT GET ANY MORE GRANT MONEY ---PERIOD these practices must stop now not later sincerely KAY M

Millie O'Connor
Millie O'Connor2 days ago

What a disgusting act of betrayal. No animal should EVER be experimented on. It's totally unnecessary. There are other methods for training. This needs to stop NOW!

Peggy B
Peggy B2 days ago


Karen and Ed O
Karen and Ed O2 days ago

Doesn't this article emphasize the more urgent underlying issue? The fact that we kill almost 3 million animals each year that just want a happy home where they feel safe and loved? Should these animals be used for teaching and testing? Of course not, no animal should. But to hand over animals that are expecting love and companionship, only to have them killed and dissected has got to be the ultimate in betrayal.

Leo Custer
Leo C2 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Frances G
Frances G2 days ago

Thanks for sharing

Clare O
Clare O'Beara3 days ago

poor dogs

Clare O
Clare O'Beara3 days ago

Easy to see the shelter has made money on this, that explains why

Clare O
Clare O'Beara3 days ago


Clare O
Clare O'Beara3 days ago