The temperature outside on Monday afternoon was cold - below freezing in fact, and the Casper police officer who made the arrest had observed the dogs, who were locked inside of an SUV, for 1 1/2 hours.
The police officer ultimately made the decision to phone animal control when the dogs' owner failed to return to the vehicle to check on the condition of her dogs.
Before an animal control officer arrived, the dogs' owner, 47-year-old Erin Yancey, came out of a nearby bar and spoke to the police officer, who questioned her about the welfare of the dogs who were inside of her vehicle.
According to the officer, Yancey became upset and rather than remaining at her vehicle, as instructed, she tried to go back inside of the bar.
Shortly thereafter, the officer put Yancey in handcuffs and arrested her for animal cruelty, as well as for interference with a peace officer.
The Casper police sergeant admitted that an arrest for animal cruelty, as opposed to a simple citation, was "uncommon," but he noted that it boils down to a judgement call, stating:
There’s no bright line in the sand as of when it becomes animal cruelty,”
Yancey pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on bond; the two dogs remain in the care of animal control.
The Casper police officer's actions on Monday are in stark contrast to some officials who often appear to turn a blind eye to the welfare of animals...such as the Adams County, Colo., animal control officials who determined that a dog, left outside in frigid conditions, was "okay," because of his breed and the fact that he was acclimated after being left outside round-the-clock.
Or officials in Forks, Wash., who refuse to conduct a welfare check on over 100 dogs confined to a warehouse, despite evidence which suggests that the dogs may be suffering.
In the Casper situation, the dogs' owner could find herself facing a fine and possible jail time, if she is convicted.
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I am human; if you see a typo, please let me know. Questions, comments or story ideas can be emailed to Eims1@live.com.