Animal rescuer gets arrested as dog-napper - - Jackson, MS

Animal rescuer gets arrested as dog-napper

OXFORD, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

You may have seen the story on WLBT News. If you find a stray pet on the side of a Mississippi road you might want to keep on driving, or risk spending time in jail. It's a topic that has our viewers speaking out on Facebook.

The Director of an Animal Rescue near Oxford, wound up charged as a dog-napper. Stephanie Mitchell spotted a dog wandering about. No tag, no ID. Well the good Samaritan befriended the pooch and took him home for the night. "If I see a dog in distress, I'm going to rescue it."

She diligently attempted to find the pet's owner. After trips to three Veterinarians and a nearby gas station, she put the dog's picture on Facebook. Within an hour, a friend identified the owners. Then one of the dog owners accused her of stealing it "I took it home, put it in my house, slept on a couch and the next day spent half a day trying to find the owners only to be arrested."

A rare occurrence that has outraged our Facebook viewers. Some WLBT viewers posted that was "a tad bit excessive, the owners are ungrateful, the owners should have gone to jail for no collar with no ID tag.

Ironically Mississippi law states that any person who steals, takes, or carries away another person's dog can be indicted on the felony charge. Mitchell said, "They have a job to do but it doesn't apply here."

Meet Ducky a 2 year old found by a good Samaritan and taken to Jackson's no kill shelter, CARA. They tried to find the owner to no avail. CARA volunteer Denise Cantrell also questions the arrest. We asked her Friday, "Do you think the owners overreacted? Cantrell replied, "Yes I do, no offense to the owner, I'm sure he was glad to get his dog back but it was a little over reaction because she was trying to find the dog and the dog could still be wandering on the highway or road."

Cantrell said, she like Mitchell understands the law's purpose, but not in these situations. Now, Mitchell is on mission to change the laws so that people aren't afraid to help.

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