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Woman faces state crime charges after rescuing dog

A dog found on the side of the road ultimately sparked a criminal investigation that landed one Texas woman behind bars. Facing state crime charges for theft, she claims that she had rescued the animal and was in the process of protecting it from a dangerous and unhealthy environment. A man who claimed to be the dog's owner disagreed and contacted authorities after the rescuer refused to hand over the animal.

The dog was initially discovered by a motorist who nearly struck the animal with his or her vehicle. That motorist eventually brought the dog to the woman in question, although it is not clear if there was any pre-existing relationship between the two people. Once in possession of the dog, the woman took her to the veterinarian who determined that she was severely underweight. Additionally, the dog was found without a collar or any other identifying information. The woman proceeded to post the dog's picture to social media and pointed out that it appeared to have been mistreated.

Soon afterward, she was contacted by a man who claimed to be the owner of the dog and who offered to provide photo evidence to back up his claim. After several days of exchange on social media during which the woman noted several deficiencies in the dog's care, she refused to release the animal. The alleged original owner then contacted police and filed a report claiming that his dog had been stolen. Police gave her the option of going to jail or letting animal control take over the dog's intermediate care until the owner could be verified. Concerned that animal control would euthanize the dog because of her medical state, she refused.

Her arrest ultimately resulted in the dog being taken to an area animal shelter. She has since bonded out of jail and has received widespread support from the community for her actions. Although this woman took what is likely an admirable stand for something she believes in, state crime charges can still carry serious consequences for those who are ill-prepared to handle them. For defendants in Texas, reviewing all relevant allegations and evidence alongside their respective counsel is one of the most appropriate actions for establishing a strong foundation for defense arguments.

Source: star-telegram.com, "Doggie dispute: Woman jailed on theft charge for refusing to return dog she says she rescued", Monica S. Nagy, Oct. 23, 2015

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