When Steve Bailey of Atlanta, Georgia spotted a neighborhood dog tethered outside by a heavy chain, with no food or water in sight on a sweltering summer day, he did what many of us would do and tried to rescue the pup.
He unchained the dog and brought him home, gave him water, and called local animal control. It was the police that showed up instead.
Instead of being praised for his efforts to save the dog’s life, he was charged with theft and thrown in jail.
Bailey took photos of the scene before he rescued the dog – a white pit bull named Zeus. He told Atlanta’s Action News 2 that there were buckets near the dog, but they were broken and chewed up, not capable of holding any water.
“I never intended to remove someone’s property. I was trying to assist an animal in distress,” he explained.
The dog’s owner, however, tells a different story. Deanna Fulton, Zeus’ owner, says Bailey broke into her yard and stole her dog with the intention to sell him. She said her dogs are well cared for, are fed three times a day, and always have water.
In Atlanta, it is illegal to tether a dog to a tree for any amount of time.
Fulton says she only chained him up for a few minutes while she ran errands.
Still, Atlanta police stand behind the arrest, saying Bailey had no right to enter Fulton’s property, even to save a dog’s life. Bailey has hired an attorney to fight the charges against him.