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What Would You Do if You Saw a Dog Tied to a Pole on a Freezing Cold Night?

By Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell    February 24, 2014 at 04:21PM / (13) comments

A resident in Lincoln County, Missouri, didn’t think she was breaking the law when she attempted to find a warm place for a dog she found tied to a pole in frigid temperatures.


Jessica Dudding was driving with her family in Lincoln County, looking at Christmas lights on the night of December 27th, when she saw a yellow Labrador retriever tied to a pole in a vacant lot in her neighborhood.


“It was very cold that night and I just couldn’t leave him there,” Dudding told Pet360. The dog was already so cold that one of her boys took his coat off and put it around the canine as they waited for police.


After a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy told her the county had no shelter, he helped her load the dog into her van so she could try the shelter in neighboring Wentzville.


“I couldn’t take him home as I have two other dogs and small children. Although the dog was acting friendly there, we have a small place and I just can’t risk taking a strange dog home around my dogs and kids.”


When she got to the Wentzville police station, she told the officer her story and he took a copy of her driver’s license and contact information. Dudding said she had no idea they were making an actual police report on the stray.


“I told them I found the dog close to Highway 61, which could have been in Wentzville,” Dudding explained.


Dudding understood she was telling a fib by virtue of omission. What she didn’t understand was that the police were taking a report. Filing a false police report is a misdemeanor, of which she was later charged.


A few days later, after posting a photo of the dog on Facebook, someone told her about some “Missing Dog” posters that matched the photo of the dog Dudding found.


She contacted the owners and they went to retrieve their beloved lost dog in Wentzville. The dog had run away from home and gotten lost when the battery on his electronic collar failed.


When the dog’s owner, Bryan Campbell, went to pick up his dog, named Diesel, the Wentzville police told him he owed $250 in boarding fees and a fine for allowing his dog to run loose within the city limits. Campbell said he had no idea who or why someone would tie Diesel to the pole.


The Campbell family called Dudding and begged her to tell the police where she actually found the dog so they could avoid the fine, which was on top of the boarding fees they already paid.


When she did, the Wentzville Police Department charged her with filing a false report. “She reported to us that this happened, and you don’t get to lie to the police,” Wentzville Police Major Paul West told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


Douglas Smith, the Wentzville District Attorney, did not return Pet360’s call for a comment on this story.


Dudding said she was shocked that the police department would pursue the matter, but pursue it they did. Dudding had to get an attorney and initially said she would fight the charge, but the working mother of three said that she could not afford to lose time at work or pay a fine.


Dudding pled no contest. Bryan Campbell paid her $24 in court costs and said he felt partially responsible because his dog wasn’t wearing any tags and wasn’t microchipped, a situation he has since changed. “She’s in trouble for helping my dog so I have to have her back on this,” Campbell told the Post-Dispatch.


The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department said the situation highlights the need for the county to manage its own animal shelter. It is a problem faced by many rural counties and towns.


Dudding told Pet360 she understands people can’t lie to the police and she is glad Diesel is home and safe, but said she is bitter over the situation. “I partly wonder if I should not have just let the Lincoln County deputy deal with the issue after I called them,” Dudding said.


When asked if she would go through this all again, she said she doesn’t know. “I am not sure what I would do if I ever came across another dog tied to a pole. I have a heart and conscience. I would have to make that decision when the time came,” Dudding said. “I cannot take in any animals, but yet I am not sure that I could just walk away.”


Editor’s Note: Photo of Diesel tied to a pole provided by Jessica Dudding.


What do you think, should she have been charged for lying to the police? What would you have done?


Article originally appeared on Pet360.com

Comments  13

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  • Some people deserve a goo
    02/25/2014 06:30pm

    I would do exactly what my sister did ... take the dog home. If that didn't work for me I'd make sure, by going to this wonderful park, that he/she would find a great home.

    When my sister rescued, the dog was not tied to a pole, he was left in the backyard in a cage way too small for a GSD. This went on for almost a year, in all kinds of weather. She went up to the door, banged real hard, told the people they were a$$#oles, didn't deserve any animals, and she was taking the dog - try and stop her. He must have known he was being rescued, he went into the car no trouble. He had the best home for over 10 years.

    I think I might have punched them out, too. People like that don't even deserve cockroaches.

  • we need more Jessicas ...
    02/25/2014 06:48pm

    If Diesel's people didn't know where he was, someone else mostlikely tied the dog where someone could spot it - not a very smart thing to do on a frigid night. I think Dudding should have let the Deputy deal with the dog, because this was a dangerous place for any animal - no way to shelter.

    BUT at least she cared enough to help Diesel out of his tough spot. I think the police should have cut her some slack - we need people who care, and get involved, especially in possible child or dog/cat/etc abuse. Diesel could have died out there.

    Thank you, Jessica, for doing the (almost) right thing :)

  • strawberry fiend forever
    02/27/2014 03:12pm

    Of course she should be prosicuted. Read the bible! Every time you tell a lie baby jesus cries. She told a lie! She has to go to the jail or else gods goin send another tornado or some other type of national disaster. Did u know that the biggest earthquake ever was in massuri state? It was to punish the country for the masurri compromise. Bottom line: DON'T LIE!

  • 05/20/2014 04:10pm

    What a bunch of horsesh*t... please park your holier-than-thee attitude at the door when you enter here. While I agree with your "don't lie" mandate, it's not because of some childish morality like "Jesus cries." Jesus had plenty of other things to worry about during his abbreviated life. I don't lie for more practical reasons... it's hard to remember who you've lied to and about what. It usually winds up coming back to you and biting you in the azz, as it did for this woman. I also agree with her amazement that the DA would prosecute such a small matter. I'm not even real sure why what she told the police constituted lying? Must have been a slow year or he's running for re-election and need something to prove he was doing his job. I'm curious though... after her no contest plea, was she not fined or penalized in some other way except her court costs? If she was, it seems like the dog's owner should have paid that too.

    What would I do? I'd take the dog home with me and post ads like she did. I have four cats who would NOT understand where this big blond oaf came from, but I have a garage where he could be made warm and comfortable and a big fenced-in yard for him to play in. I wouldn't have gotten the police involved, nor our local animal shelter which has too high a kill rate, so there's no way in hell I'd abandon him to them. If I couldn't find the dog's owner after a reasonable time, I'd find him a home on my own.

  • 05/06/2015 09:08am

    I hope your comment was a joke. If not, spellcheck is in your future! Actually, just buy a dictionary. Anyway, we are talking about the state that has the largest amount of puppy mills in the U.S. They need a lot of laws changed for the better. It would be nice if the population could figure out something to do beside torturing dogs. I guess I can believe that law enforcement wasted their time on this situation of someone trying to do the right thing. They have probably never experienced that.
    I apologize for offending most of Missouri's population.

  • 05/06/2015 09:10am

    My comment was in response to strawberry fiend.

  • 08/22/2015 02:18pm

    I am glad that my God does not judge people like you do. This lady helped one of God's creatures and we are told to take care of God's creation. She made a mistake, one that didn't hurt anyone and God does forgive without judging the earth in a manner like you described. How sad that you portray God to be this kind of God.

  • 08/26/2015 12:02pm

    Wow Strawberry fiend... just WOW... good Christian soul you have there...

  • omission not necessary
    04/04/2014 11:15am

    What she did for the dog was commendable. She told the sheriff everything why not the police. I don't understand why she lied by omission.

  • I'll tell you what I'd do
    07/10/2015 12:19pm

    I'd put the dog in my car so it can get warmed up, then go knock on the owner's door and when they answer, just start beating the crap out of them. Then chain them up outside.

  • "Probably Saved The Dog"
    07/27/2015 02:05pm

    She should not have lied to the police, however I don't think she should have been charged. I would have taken the dog home, warmed it up and gave it food and water until the owner came forward.

  • In trouble for lying
    08/30/2015 02:31pm

    She's not in trouble for helping the dog, she's in trouble for lying to police. She was given an outrageous fine, so what's the big deal? It would have been better for her to just call animal control in the first place and let them handle it. That's their job, and we all pay taxes for them to do that job.

  • 08/30/2015 02:35pm

    Oh...and please don't tell me that because there's no shelter in this county, there's no animal control. I've spent most of my life in rural areas. There's ALWAYS animal control, not just for pets but for injured or rabid wildlife. If she'd called the sheriff, they would have collected the dog and taken it to whatever shelter they had a deal with.