Animal activist and founder of Dogs Deserve Better Tammy Grimes has been found guilty of stealing a tethered dog and refusing to return it.
A Pennsylvania jury made their verdict in 30 minutes after a three-day trial. Grimes admitted that, on Sept. 11, 2006, she went onto the property of Steve and Lori Arnold and took Jake, a 19-year-old mixed-breed German shepherd, after a neighbor complained about Jake being tethered for three days. The neighbor also said that Jake did not have food or water and was unable to move.
Grimes took Jake to a veterinarian, and the vet said that Jake’s condition was a two on a scale of one to ten. The German shepherd was treated and taken to a foster home where he died five months later.
She refused to take Jake to authorities or return him back to the Arnolds because she feared for the safety and well-being of Jake. Grimes said she did not want to return him until she was guaranteed that he would be well taken care of. She also wanted animal cruelty charges filed against the Arnolds.
Grimes stated, “It was either his skin or my skin. I had two choices: Either give the dog back to that situation or get arrested. That dog was the worst dog Iâ€™d ever seen on a chain, and my thoughts were to get him care. It had nothing to do with being on a chain.”
Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio stated, “If the defendant failed to return the dog to the Arnolds and gave it to a third party, she deprived the owners of the dog. Without law you have chaos. Who wants someone taking the law into their own hands against them.”
The prosecution also accused Grimes of taking Jake as a publicity stunt. A detective testified that Grimes sold shirts, sweatshirts and underwear with pictures of Jake on them.
Grimes’ attorney said that Grimes never meant to deprive the owners of Jake. She simply wanted to give him medical care.
Grimes will be sentenced February 22, but Consiglio said that Grimes will not face jail time. Sentencing guidelines recommend probation.
After the guilty verdict, Grimes said that she may cry for half-an-hour, but she can’t be kept down and will continue with her efforts in support of state legislation that will prohibit chaining of dogs outside from 10pm to 6am.