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U.S. Attorney: Port Arthur man with “cruel heart” pleads guilty after admitting he shot dog

BEAUMONT — A Port Arthur man pleaded guilty to a federal firearms violation in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei Wednesday.

Lou Arrington Welch, 32, pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn.

“The fact that Welch would shoot an innocent animal speaks not only to his depravity, but also to his dangerousness,” Ganjei said. “As a felon with a cruel heart, he is exactly the kind of person that should not be permitted to possess a firearm. Getting guns out of the hands of prohibited persons makes all of us — including man’s best friend — safer.”

According to court documents, on Dec. 29, 2020, Port Arthur Police responded to a call reporting gunshots and the shooting of a dog.

When police arrived, officers discovered a wounded dog and learned from the dog’s owner that Welch previously threatened to shoot her dog.

While officers were at the scene, Welch drove past, and officers unsuccessfully attempted to flag him down.

Officers followed Welch in a marked unit and attempted to pull him over. However, Welch accelerated, and a chase ensued.

Police eventually managed to stop and arrest Welch.

Police recovered a pistol from the car, and Welch admitted to officers he had shot the dog. Further investigation revealed Welch was convicted of felony drug violations in Jefferson County. As such, Welch is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.

The dog ultimately survived its injuries.

Welch was indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 3, 2021. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Port Arthur Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Grove.