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Woman faces felony charges for saving dogs lives

Luba
June 10th, 2004, 01:48 PM
http://www.theleafchronicle.com/news/stories/20040610/localnews/611989.html


Woman faces trial for trying to save dogs
By REGAN LOYOLA CONNOLLY
The Leaf-Chronicle

She thought she was doing the right thing, but now Linda Stevens may
spend time in jail for rescuing two abused dogs in Virginia last August.

Stevens removed the two animals, a poodle-mix and Pomeranian, from a
shed behind a home in Jonesville, Va., where she said they were being
kept without water.

She was visiting her sister when she took the dogs.

"They were locked in the shed and it was well over 100 degrees," she
said. "There was feces up to your ankles, no light and there were
maggots in their food. I took the dogs out of that terrible situation
because if I hadn't, they would have died a slow, dreadful death."

The self-professed animal lover was charged with one count of grand
larceny for taking the dogs. If convicted of the crime during her July
29 trial, Stevens could be sentenced to between one and 10 years in
prison.

Stevens was arrested and spent 10 days in jail before being extradited
to Virginia. She has spent $5,000 defending herself, even though she
admits what she did was illegal.

She said she took the dogs because there isn't a dog shelter in
Jonesville.

"I know what I should have done and what is legal, but when you see a
situation like that and you are acting on your emotions, your first
instinct is to save the dogs," Stevens said. "I should have done a lot
of things differently, but I had no idea they would lock me in jail for
trying to save two dogs. I did the wrong thing legally, but the right
thing morally."

David Selby, director of the Montgomery County Animal Control and
Adoption Service, said even in an area that doesn't have animal control
services, there are people to call for help.

"Any law enforcement agency has the same authority as animal control,"
Selby said. "If they see a violation of state law, they can charge
someone as such."

Selby said it's not uncommon for residents to run across animals in
distress.

"If (Stevens) felt those animals were in danger, I personally think she
did the right thing," he said. "It wasn't right as far as taking the
animals. She should have reported that."

Selby said animal control officers and law enforcement personnel are
trained in investigative techniques and know to gather evidence that
proves animal cruelty.

Stevens should have taken pictures of the dogs and the place where they
were kept, Selby said.

For now, Stevens said she will remain hopeful the charge is reduced to a
misdemeanor or she can reach a settlement. She said she has offered the
owner $5,000 for the dogs, but that offer has been refused. She also
said she tried to have the owner charged with animal cruelty -- and even
had three witnesses -- but the case was thrown out of court.

"I didn't do this for malice or for profit," she said. "I did it to save
the dogs."

Stevens said she would encourage others who find themselves in a similar
situation to first call police or animal control for help, before taking
matters into their own hands.

"They should call police and ask them for help first before they act on
their emotions," she said. "But sometimes you just have to act to save
the animals. People need to know there are consequences for doing
something like this and I don't want anyone else to end up in this
situation."

mastifflover
June 10th, 2004, 04:37 PM
Of course how typical prosecute the wrong person. But don't do anything to the abusers. Did you not know that criminals have more rights than law abiding citizens. Maybe what she did was technically illegal but since when is abuse legal. She was just trying to save the dogs. Charging her was a disgusting misuse of the law. :mad: :mad: :mad:

Luba
June 10th, 2004, 05:27 PM
Okay wth happened to the other 6/7 posts?

They're all gone?

daisy18216
June 10th, 2004, 05:53 PM
What other posts?????

Something like this happened to another DDB (Dogs Deserve Better) Rep. We all signed a petiton but the dog that she rescued and saved belonged to an attorney and she paid fines, and I think she spent time in jail and got probation.

It's very sad that people abuse their animals or leave them chained up and penned 24/7 w/no food or water and the people who are trying to save them and give them a better life. and show the animals that not all humans are monsters. But the good people who go through all this trouble are the guilty ones. :mad:

Go figure, Something needs to be done w/our judicial system. They do have their wires crossed!! :mad:

melanie
June 10th, 2004, 06:35 PM
:mad: :mad: that is just crap, what a bunch of @#$%^. where does ethics and morals come into it, for god sake someone can jsut abuse an animal and who cares these days, it stinks. i for one have done a similar thing in the past, did not know i could be charged for saving a abused dog that is about to die (oh and she is happy 8yrs later, would have been dead in days if i had not come along), so what let it die and then complain?? gee what is the world coming to (did you know that if someone breaks into your house and beats you or something and your dog bites them you can be charged?? just a joke if you ask me). oh thats right, oopps silly me forgot that animals have no rights in this world, are not really members of society and are all existing for human egos :eek: :eek: , truly believe there should be a stupidity clause in there somewhere. sheesh :mad:

Luba
June 10th, 2004, 06:56 PM
There were some replies to this earlier in the day but they went poof! :confused:

LavenderRott
June 10th, 2004, 10:22 PM
What I would like to know is how she got caught. Did she run around telling everyone what a wonderful person she is? And yes, is stinks that she is facing jail time for doing what is morally right.

melanie
June 10th, 2004, 11:03 PM
quote 'Did she run around telling everyone what a wonderful person she is?' that is mean, and unfair, and that is my opinion only so dont freak out or anything, why assume the worst of a person, comeon the benfit of doubt and all that???.. and i hope she told all and sundry what had happened to these dogs, some freak probably just dobbed her in or maybe the owners found out, either way i hope she told the world what had happened, nothing can change if people are not aware of the problem.

LavenderRott
June 11th, 2004, 02:48 AM
quote 'Did she run around telling everyone what a wonderful person she is?' that is mean, and unfair, and that is my opinion only so dont freak out or anything, why assume the worst of a person, comeon the benfit of doubt and all that???.. and i hope she told all and sundry what had happened to these dogs, some freak probably just dobbed her in or maybe the owners found out, either way i hope she told the world what had happened, nothing can change if people are not aware of the problem.

I didn't mean to be mean. Dogs are possesions. Legally there is no way around that. A good dog is an expensive possesion and therefore if you STEAL it, you can be charged with Grand Theft. Among other things. If you get caught, then the dog goes back to where you STOLE it from.

If you see an animal in what you consider to be a life threatening position and you steal that animal, no matter what your reason, you had better keep your mouth shut or be prepared to spend some time in jail.

If you want to raise a fuss about how some was keeping their animal, then call the authorities, the press, the local t.v. station and raise a big stink.

mastifflover
June 11th, 2004, 02:49 PM
Just to correct someone who said that you can be charged if someone breaks in and your dog bites them. Well you wont be charged if they broke into the house and they are bit. But if they are outside and trying to break in and are bit outside then you may be charged, anyway it is a stupid law and I think if someone is trespassing on my property I think they deserve what they get.

melanie
June 11th, 2004, 06:00 PM
no that is australian law, sorry should have said. here if someone breaks in and charlie attacks them i will be done for it. i asked a lawyer recently, i said to him that if someone did break in it would be hard to stop charlie tearing them a new orifice :D . apparently she can be considered a weapon and i would be done for it, if a child jumped my fence for a ball i would be done also if she hurt them. and if i have warning signs on the property it is worse cause i am admitting i have a so called 'dangerous dog'. stupid duty of care crap, i mean surely this cannot be considered the owners fault if she bites them, and like you said on my property. sheer stupidity, it seems many laws are made to protect the abuser, not the victim. :o i often have grave doubts about the australian 'justice' system or justice in general :o :eek:

a long time ago i found a puppy living in the most disgusting conditions and about to die, i could not leave her there, so bugger it i took her. the place where she was kept, well when i entered i near threw up, it was just disgusting and wrong. the people that had her were heroine addicts and not in very good shape themselves and didnt give a care if these dogs died (one already had and the rest on the way). i paid a large amount in vet bills restoring the pups health and 8 yrs later she is happy and healthy having escaped death and abuse. the owners didnt care, they new what i had done and where to find me, they never bothered and i would have fought like hell to keep her anyway and those sort of people dont fight for anything, and at the time i never once considered what i was doing illegal or wrong, jsut necessary and an emergency to get the pup away from there. perhaps the woman above was in the same frame of mind, just panicking and feeling the need to act asap. if i found a dog or any animal in the same conditions again i would never hesitiate, heasitating might mean that animal is dead by the time i come back. society sucks sometimes, it is like everything is a possession and no one can directly help the abused or stop abuse. well i for one dont care what is done to me, i will always do what i feel is right no matter what some law maker might think, right is more important to legally correct in my eyes. ahhh that poor lady :eek: :mad:

Chany
June 12th, 2004, 09:55 AM
A law is a law is a law. :o I'm in sync with Lavender Rott. But this is a learning experience for people on how to handle some situations. It's ridiculous though at her facing up to 10 years. A misdemeanor charge would be suffice. :(

mona_b
June 12th, 2004, 12:24 PM
mastifflover,you can be charged if someone breaks in and your dog bites.And guess who it is that can charge you?The one that broke into the house.

BUT,it is very rare that the person will have the balls to do it.He/she is in enough crap for breaking in.

Sandi,you are so very right.You can be charged with theft if you steal someones dog.Even if you are trying to get it out of a bad situation.It sucks big time though.If you have any intensions of taking an animal out of a bad situation,call who ever you can to get help.If that doesn't work,and you intend to take matters into your own hands,then yes,please keep quiet about it..... :D

I really feel bad for this woman.

wAggie
June 12th, 2004, 09:15 PM
i don't understand why the owner of the dog had his/her charges dropped.. this sounds messed :mad: