Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dognapping charge for animal lover

By Paul Glasser, The State Journal

A director of the Franklin County Humane Society will be arraigned in two weeks on charges of theft after police say she refused to return a dog to its owner.
Stephanie Bramblet, 48 of 1243 Lewis Ferry Road, is accused of hiding a pit bull mix dog at the humane society and refusing to hand it over to the owner, according to Franklin County Constable Floyd Hockensmith. Bramblet faces one count of theft by failure to make a required disposition of property less than $500 – a misdemeanor.
Hockensmith said another woman, Barbara Murray, 47 of 907 Grant Ave., stole the dog from a home at 61 Tracy Lane on June 18. Murray gave the dog to the humane society, and Bramblet told staff the dog should not be released to its owner, Hockensmith said.
Murray faces two misdemeanor charges of theft by unlawful taking and third degree trespassing.
Murray and Bramblet will be arraigned in Franklin District court on July 26.
Bramblet declined to comment on the case, but Murray said it was a “misunderstanding.” The women said they will meet with their attorney later this week.
Bramblet referred questions to Trudi Johnson, spokeswoman for the humane society, who said she’s very shocked by the charges.
“We’re letting the investigation play itself out,” she said.
Both Bramblet and Murray are state employees.
Hockensmith declined to comment on the case and referred all questions to County Attorney Rick Sparks. Sparks said the case is still under investigation, and police are collecting statements from witnesses.
The owners of the dog were not identified in Hockensmith’s report, but Adam and Mahala Presley are listed as the owners of 61 Tracy Lane according to records at the Franklin County Property Valuation Administrator’s office. Adam Presley could not immediately be reached for comment, but his father, Robert Presley, said his son’s dog was stolen in June.
Murray was a volunteer who helped search for Copper, the Shiba Inu that was mistaken for a coyote and released behind Home Depot in July 2010. The dog was never found, but the case led to calls for reform at the humane society.
Bramblet was elected to the humane society’s board of directors in September 2010 after the director resigned. In her election application Bramblet said she worked at the Scott County humane society for 10 years.
“I handled all the paperwork for that organization including secretarial duties and writing thank you notes. I also ordered supplies and was responsible for donation collection from cash jars.”
She has also fostered hundreds of dogs and cats as a volunteer.
“I have dedicated all of my spare time to animal welfare and rescue.”
Bramblet was one of 22 candidates and tied for second with Johnson for 56 votes.

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