Woman charged for saving dog (long)

  1. LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - The dog appeared to be dead Monday morning, a passersby said.
    Chained outside a residence, the shepherd mix lying on his side in dirt and puddles had been unable to stand for several days, they said.

    A neighbor repeatedly called a Central Pennsylvania Humane Society officer charged with investigating animal abuse and neglect in the Altoona area. No one responded, the neighbor said.

    So the neighbor called Tammy Grimes. Then another person called Grimes about the same dog. That’s when Grimes took action, video camera in tow.

    By early Monday evening, the dog Grimes dubbed Doogie was resting inside a safe home after a $170 visit to a vet. After taking painkillers, vitamins, a hearty meal and water, he was even walking a little.

    That night, not unexpectedly, police came for Grimes.

    “I couldn’t possibly live with myself if I had left Doogie there,” Grimes said Wednesday. “I just had to make a call at that point: Am I going to do the right thing or be a coward? The fear of being arrested should not interfere with doing the right thing.”

    Police in four cruisers showed up at her home about 9:30 p.m., she said.

    “I didn’t realize I was such a threat to society,” Grimes said. “They said I had to return the dog. I said, ‘I can’t do that.’ They started to cuff me.”

    Grimes said she was transported by Freedom Township police to a station about 30 miles from her Tipton home near Altoona.

    After being charged with theft, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief and trespassing, and then being arraigned and processed, Grimes was released on $50,000 unsecured bail.

    The dog’s owners say they didn’t mistreat the animal.

    The matter immediately hit the airwaves. E-mails were fired across the country. Defense-fund donations rolled in. Altoona news stations aired the story. Celebrity animal-rights activists vowed to assist Grimes.

    That’s because Grimes is the well-connected founder of the national dog-protection organization Dogs Deserve Better. She will be a featured speaker Saturday at the annual Puppy Mill Awareness Day at Intercourse Community Park.


    Grimes’ group encourages pet owners to unchain dogs and integrate them into households.

    If that doesn’t work, the group provides assistance to pet owners who agree to get fences so dogs don’t have to be chained. About 5 percent of the time, owners simply relinquish ownership to the group, which finds foster and adoptive homes for them.

    When the group gets a call from the public about a chained dog, a letter is mailed to the pet owner about alternatives to chaining. About 2,000 letters go out each year through organization representatives across the country.

    “On occasion, you get someone who does do the right thing,” Grimes said. “Our first choice is for them to keep the dog and take them inside. We offer fencing help. We try to address solutions to the problems.”

    Dogs Deserve Better also lobbies for legislation that would limit how long animals can be chained outside. Pennsylvania House Bill 1911 would limit chaining to 16 hours in a 24-hour period. Connecticut already passed a similar law, and in California the legislation is awaiting the governor’s signature.

    “It’s stuck in committee right now,” Grimes said of the legislation. “But it will go somewhere eventually because we won’t stop until it does. It’s still a pretty bad law — 16 hours a day. But it’s take this horrible improvement or no improvement.”


    Dogs such as Doogie are the reason Grimes wants the legislation to pass.

    During Doogie’s visit to the veterinarian, the vet documented an enlarged heart, bone spurs that crippled the dog, a mass near his hip, malnourishment and sores on his body, Grimes said.

    “He’s been tied outside his entire life,” she said. “But he couldn’t get up for three days. He’s obviously very old. I don’t know how long he has left, but he’s doing surprisingly well now.”

    Doogie’s story comes as some of the nation’s most dogged animal-rights advocates plan a weekend of events in Lancaster County, including the annual Puppy Mill Awareness Day, which has drawn heavy-metal rocker Rikki Rockett of Poison fame, actress Linda Blair and actor Chris DeRose.

    Doogie won’t be on hand at the weekend’s events — he’s resting at an undisclosed house — but Grimes fully expects to make her scheduled appearance.

    It’s not known whether further charges will be filed in the matter. Calls made to Central Pennsylvania Humane Society, the humane society cruelty officer and the arresting police department were not returned. Attempts to reach the dog’s owners also were unsuccessful.

    Meanwhile, the dog’s family says they want him back. In an interview with the Altoona Mirror, Steve and Lori Arnold of East Freedom said they never abused the dog and they planned to euthanize 19-year-old “Jake.”

    “But do you know how hard that is to do?” Lori Arnold told the Mirror.

    “I just want my dog back,” Steve Arnold was quoted in Wednesday’s edition of the Mirror. “He’s part of my family, and the judge just let (Grimes) go.”

    Grimes’ friends are searching for a lawyer versed in animal rights to represent her. She said she was surprised the Arnolds called police about the dog’s disappearance.

    “I was really banking on them not saying anything because they might get in trouble,” Grimes said. “If I had let my dog lay in the dirt for two days and someone took him on the third day, I wouldn’t be asking any questions. I’m floored they had the nerve to go to the police and say someone took their dog.”

    Here a link to some pictures and the video she took of the dog trying to get up. IFAW's Animal Rescue Blog: Dog's Hero Placed Behind Bars

    My question is...would you do the same? If you saw some poor dog like this one suffering, and it was extremely obvious that dog was neglected in every way, and the owners did not love or care for it...would you risk the fine, or risk being put in jail?
  2. I heard this story too..and couldn't believe it!

    Did you see the pictures of the dog when she rescued it??

    So sad...so very very sad
  3. OMG! I am outraged! They arrested a woman who was HELPING a mistreated dog?! WTF?

    I would certainly do the same thing! Even if I knew I'd be put in jail. What is wrong with the law these days? :wtf: :confused1:
  4. ^ same! I could never leave a dog in that condition.
  5. this is making me angry.....
  6. OK...ladies and gents, I happen to live about an hour and a half from Altoona...I am going up there and kick some a$$! Anyone wanna join me?

    This makes me so sick.......I must have missed the story on my local news.

    How could anyone dream of filing charges against that woman? She actually had a heart and did the right thing...unlike the owners. And yes, I do know how hard it is to euthanize an animal....but that's no excuse for letting a "part of the family" suffer.

    I am so mad right now that I am actually crying........
  7. ^ I know, I began to cry also. What I don't understand is how the laws don't change in favour of the animals welfare!!! Instead they are geared to protect the abuser. Its really outrageous...what are they waiting for?
  8. What a bunch of BS. The kind lady saved a dying dog. No more to it. Don't arrest the lady! And then the owners say that they never mistreated the dog. Wow. I wouldn't give that poor dog back either, he would just get into the same condition as he was before. Don't let the poor dog suffer. It's kinda scary that these kind of people are in charge.
  9. You know what? This is a disgusting, backwards-ass world we live in, isn't it?! She saves an innocent animal from what sounds like a sure slow death and gets punished for it?!

    They arrested the WRONG PERSON! Why weren't charges filed against the monsters who owned the dog?! The dog was "part of the family", Mr. Arnold says! UNREAL! I didn't read anywhere that Tammy Grimes also found Mr. Arnold's CHILDREN chained outside of the house next to their 4-legged brother since they are all "family", right?!

    I realized at a very early age that some people just DON'T DESERVE to own an animal.

    I say they should slap a medal on Tammy Grimes, find a loving a comfortable home for Doogie and chain THE ARNOLDS to the side of their house until THEY can't get up for three days. Only the best for them. After all, they're family.
  10. I couldn't have said it better myself...........AAAAGGGH. I am still mad.
  11. this is just wrong! The lady SAVED the dog and they arrested her?!! What kind of twisted logic is this?
  12. I'm just mad mad mad reading this story!! :mad: :mad:

    And the dog owners said they did not abuse or neglect the poor animal? WTF?!?!?! They were going to put him to death, why on earth would they want him back? The dog is better off at Tammy's care, where he can spend his old days in peace.

    I hope Tammy can beat this stupid case made against her. And I hope those stupid owners would net see the dog ever again, they should be ban from having another animal.

    I'm still reeeling mad, especially after seeing the video.
  13. This is so upsetting!!! I can't believe how messed up our laws are with respect to animals!!!! I wonder how those people sleep at night! I look at my pup's eyes and often wonder how anyone can neglect and abuse them. This is so horrifying, it makes me so sad.
  14. i can't believe this happened!! how could anyone do that to a dog and then go and arrest the lady that tried to help him?! it just doesn't make any sense.
  15. The dog's owner should be ashamed of himself.

    I would have rescued the dog as well...if I got into legal trouble over it, so be it. I would NOT let that stand in the way of my helping a dog desperate for help.

    I swear, this whole thing makes me sick!!