Dogs & Laws

Man Rescues Dog, Gets Criminal Record

When Elvis Hernandez, a locksmith out of San Antonio, Texas, found a small dachshund wandering the streets, he thought he was doing the right thing by bringing the little dog home.

Now, faced with criminal charges, Hernandez regrets the day he helped the lost dog.

While locksmithing for a customer, Hernandez spotted a tiny Dachshund wandering the street nearby. The dog was not wearing a collar or tags and wasn’t microchipped. Unable to locate his owner, Hernandez took the little dog home, but left his contact information with the customer in case an owner was located.

For several weeks, Hernandez cared for the dog in his own home, despite not getting along with his own dog. Eventually, because the dogs couldn’t live together, Hernandez gave the lost Dachshund away to another family.

But, just days ago, the Dachshunds original owner tracked Hernandez down, looking for his dog. Several months had passed and Elvis did not know where the dog was now living.

Herndandez told KHOU News, “I just explained to her that I didn’t have it. I didn’t know where it was, and I apologized.”

But, the original owner called police and a warrant was issued for Hernandez’s arrest. Hernandez, a single father, was arrested in front of his son, stripped of his locksmithing license, and charged with theft.

Watch the KENS5 News report below:

Do you think Elvis Hernandez was wrong to bring the dog home? Did he deserve to be arrested and stripped of his right to perform his job, all because he tried to rescue a lost dog? How would you handle this situation?

60 Comments

60 Comments

  1. Ron Wagner

    Jun 9, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Sounds like there was not collar and I.D. I have acquired two stray dogs like that at cared for them for years. If he had killed the dog, he would be in less trouble, than in finding a home for it. There are people who steal purebreds, but this is not the case. Hope someone can help this man out!

  2. christina

    May 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

    How can he be charged with theft? He did NOT steal the dog, he FOUND the dog. What kind of owner takes several months to find their dog.The person had no collar or tags on their dog and it was not microchipped, it seems they didn’t properly care for their dog in the first place.

  3. Danie

    May 25, 2013 at 9:48 am

    He did do the right thing by picking up the dog. But there is no mention of him ever reporting the dog to anyone other than the person he was doing the work on the home for. Therefore, the owner may have been searching and going every avenue they are suppose to in order to find their pet. I agree micro-chipping a dog is a smart move but considering no vets or shelters had been contacted that would not have even made a difference in this situation. The entire situation is just sad. But even if proper routes where not followed, for this man to be arrested and to lose his professional license is just crazy. The original owner needs to realize this was a mistake, everyone has learned from it, drop the charges and let everyone move on with their lives.

  4. Sailor

    May 24, 2013 at 10:54 am

    How did they even know if it was her dog or not?

  5. A. Zachary

    May 24, 2013 at 9:27 am

    No ,he should not be charged. So the incompetent owner loses their dog, it has no tags or collar, which if animal control picked up the dog the owner would be the one being charged, and the guy that tried to help gets his life ruined. Perry keeps saying move to Texas but I here far too many stories of police misconduct in that state

  6. Oregon Oldguy

    May 16, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Someone with personal knowledge of this incident needs to start a petition on the Moveon.org petition site GO HERE: http://petitions.moveon.org/create_start.html
    This petition site has done very well in helping folks who have been treated unfairly by the system.
    If you know the actual details; please start a petition… I’ll sign it in a heartbeat!

  7. Justin Alberts

    May 14, 2013 at 10:13 am

    No wonder prosecuters are getting shot and killed in Texas. Perhaps it will take several more being shot before they refocus their attention on truth and justice instead of celebrating getting a conviction regardless of guilt or innocence.

  8. pAUL

    May 7, 2013 at 9:17 am

    No good deed goes unpunished.

  9. barb

    Mar 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

    i agree i think the owner should be thhe one in trouble for not tagging the dog .and whos to say that this is the dog the person is looking for if they havent even seen the dog, theres a lot of dogs that look alike so theres no real proof that this is the right dog.and if this so happenns to be the right dog ant the owner should be thanking this man for saving the dog not putting him in jail!so if they dont have the balls to thank him i will do it for them, THANK YOU SIR FOR YOUR KIND HEART TO LOOK OUT FOR THIS LITTLE LOST DOG THAT WITHOUT YOU COULD BE DEAD RIGHT NOW!AND IF I WERE YOU I WOULD CHECK WITH MY ATTY; YOU MAY HAVE A LAWSUIT !

  10. Keepalowprofile

    Mar 25, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Although I feel bad for this man, I understand the law. In order for him to legally give the dog away, He would of had to advertise in the local news paper, and feed and care for the dog for 30 days.and then license the dog into his name. Because he gave the dog away with out following legal procedure… He committed a crime.

    • barb

      Mar 26, 2013 at 10:36 am

      WITHOUT ANY TAGS OR PROOF OF WHO THIS DOG BELONGS TO HOW CAN YOU SAY HE COMMITTED A CRIME ?THIS PERSON DOES NOT HAVE ANY PROOF THAT THEY EVER OWNED THIS DOG ! IN THIS CASE THEN I COULD CALL AND SAY IT IS MY DOG. THATS WHERE THE REAL OWNER SHOULD HAVE TAGGED THE DOG,AND UNTIL THE DOG COULD BE TAGGED IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOOK OUT ON A LEASH AND WATCHED AFTER A LOT CLOSER!THIS MAN OWNES THIS DOG AS MUCH IF NOT MORE THAN THE ONE WHOS TRYING TO CLAIM IT.I BET THE NEW OWNER WILL HAVE IT TAGGED !

  11. S

    Mar 22, 2013 at 4:07 am

    The police should have charged the owner for having an unrestrained dog at large and for endangerment and neglect of her dog.

  12. Mackey Chandler

    Jan 26, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I’m sure if you investigate the owner has some personal connection to local police or politics. What do you thinks the chances are YOU would get a police response to such a call?

  13. Darrell

    Jan 10, 2013 at 8:46 am

    While I understand why he did not do it (most rescue orgs charge if you keep the dog for morethan a few days) once he decided he could/would not keep the dog he should have turned it over to a rescue org.

    • Darrell

      Jan 10, 2013 at 8:54 am

      I forgot to mention that a common defense by people that steal animals is they “found” a stray and “searched” (but no evidence of search such as asking Vets or putting up posters) and then “gave” away the animal while having no way to contact who they “gave” the animal to. IMO the FACT (according to the article) that this man left contact information with a local resident (his customer) shows he did not steal dog

  14. Dog lover

    Jan 7, 2013 at 11:28 am

    This is crazy. First, the dog was wandering the streets so I can’t understand how he could be arrested for theft. If he took the dog from the woman’s property, that’s different, but that’s not how it happened. If I were in his position, I would file a law suit against both the woman and the police department. That seems to be the only thing that gets any attention these days and forces people to do the right thing.

    • barb

      Mar 26, 2013 at 10:39 am

      THANK YOU AND AMEN!!!!

  15. Lesson Learned

    Jan 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Lesson learned – If you see a stray, go the other way.

  16. Looks out for animals

    Jan 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    There are lots of very good people who rescue, take in, care for by providing a loving temporary home, food, Vet care at their own expense, while searching for the missing “good owner”. This man seems to be one of those. The woman who “lost” her dog, needs too be thankful for ALL he has done. Was this a “no kill shelter” area???? If not, well the man did exactly right. Even if it is, enough time had passed to find a FOREVER HOME for the dog since he was unable to keep. There are many networks of people who find loving homes for lost, stray animals when an owner can’t be located. KUDOS to all of them. REINSTATE THAT MANS LIFE.

  17. Jan

    Dec 30, 2012 at 11:13 am

    This is despicable! The Man should NEVER have been arrested! He should have been applauded for caring about the dog in the first place! How many would have just walked away? RESTORE HIS RIGHTS AND CLEAR HIS RECORD!

  18. jeanette

    Dec 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    what kind of person puts out an arrest warrant for this man. foul person is the owner of the dog. either put on a collar or a microchip. the man did his best. what is wrong with the police dept?
    let him go and give him back his license.

  19. fireoasis

    Dec 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Arrested.. I think that is pretty strong, however the man went about ‘saving’ the dog in the wrong way. If he was willing to ‘house’ the dog he could have called the local pound and still reported the dog as found. They would have put the information on file and real owner would likely have found her dog much sooner, as clearly she was looking for him/it. Yes it was a good thing that he picked it up and took good care of it. I’ve done the very same thing, but any stray dog should be reported to the local pound/animal shelter so that the owner can attempt to find it. If you are willing to house the animal they will let you foster it, if you want to keep the animal they will let you. Especially one without a licence and tags. It seems just a big fishy that he would not report a found dog to the animal shelter. When you lose your dog that is the first place someone would call to see if it got picked up or delivered there. So really that is what is going on here. As for losing his lockpicking license I believe he simply loses that due to the arrest, as he has to be bonded and insured, which you can’t be if you have a criminal record.

  20. Bernice

    Dec 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

    And where were the owners during these months that the dog was with him? No her doesn’t deserve to be charged. This is why people don’t report abuse or offer help.

  21. Caroline Taylor

    Dec 2, 2012 at 3:56 am

    I live in eire, if you hand a dog into a pound as a stray, it gets 7 days then it is P.T.S, if you are lucky, one of the rescue org. might get there first, but not always. If this man had not picked it up and looked after it, dead looks very much its fate. The original owner is the one that needs the record.

  22. Ann Guy

    Dec 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    This woman should be charged with neglect of her dog. Where was her love and concern for her dog in the months it was gone? This guy done a good thing and is being treated like a criminal. That’s only going to keep people from helping pets in need. Get real, stop being so petty. Give the man a medal and the woman a citation, and be done with it.

  23. Kat

    Dec 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Where has the owner been all this time? If they really wanted the dog and found this man now, why did they not find him days ago? This is crazy.

  24. Patti

    Dec 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Thats bullshit, the man was doing a good deed. The original owner is a BITCH who doesn’t deserve to have a pet!!

  25. jodie

    Dec 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    If he didn’t pick the dog up the dog could have died or ended up in the wrong hands and suffered neglect. The owners should be grateful that their dog was well cared for after they carelessly left him wandering the streets.

  26. C Williams

    Nov 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Actually, after an amount of time which varies by state, the dog can legally be considered abandoned and the owner loses all rights to the animal. I sincerely hope someone steps up to defend this poor man. Legally, he is NOT totally in the wrong. Also, I believe good samaritan laws apply here as well.

  27. Susan Hayes

    Nov 30, 2012 at 12:37 am

    His heart was in the right place and I applaud him for that but he did not go about it the right and legal way. I believe the law requires that if a person finds a stray/loose dog they can (1) turn it into AC and be done with it or (2) hold the dog while making every reasonable effort to find the owners and that includes notifying AC you have the found dog, posting found notices in newpapers, vets, Craigslist, etc. His just leaving his number with the customer was not enough. Dogs can travel long distances in a short time. And then not being able to provide the name of the person he gave it to is a red flag to me This law is to protect owners who have their dogs stolen for whatever bad reason people have. Now, the original owner was irresponsible for not microchipping and tagging the dog. The article did not say what the distance is between home and where the dog was found and how much time had passed. We don’t know the whole story. Moral of the story: microchip your pets, put ID tags on their collars and if you find one-call AC. Last week we found 2 loose dogs with no tags. The first thing I did was call AC and yes the owners had called there looking for them. Within 2 hours we had reunited the owners with their dogs. In the meantime, 2 neighbors wanted to take one of them home. After I told them that, by law, they were required to call AC and make an effort to find the owners or face legal trouble, they lost interest. I just hope the dogs get ID tags for Christmas.

  28. carol

    Nov 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    No – the OWNER should have been cited for allowing the dog to run loose in the streets with no identification/tags etc. This gentleman possibly saved this dog from being hit by a car and killed. I would have done the same thing! How did saving this dog in any way interfer with this mans occupation? The prosecutors need to drop the charges against this man, he should be reinstated to his job and paid ALL of his backpay and the owner(s) of the dog need to be fined for their negilience AND for filing the lawsuit. The procesutors need to be sanctioned by the courts for allowing the lawsuit.

  29. marilyn

    Nov 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    This is ludicrous! The owners should be greatful their dog wasn’t dead. Any lover of dogs or humane person would have done the same thing, including myself. The owners of the dog should have had charges against them for not collaring their dog,or having some type of id on the animal.They’re lucky the dog’s alive and should be counting their blessings.If caught in the street one of these crazies would have had fun running it over like I see a lot of animals.Reverse the charges! Whose really wrong by not keeping an eye on their animal? Maybe the owners are looking for a law suit for money.I wouldn’t doubt it.

  30. Nancy McCann

    Nov 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I think the whole issue is this: giving this dog to someone else knowing the original owner may one day show up. If you rescue a stray you are responsible until owner is found if you choose to foster the dog. I would have taken to dog shelter and explained the situation and let them know he should be fostered. Or I would have found a rescue organization which is pretty easy to find online these days. The situation is sad but you can’t just give away an animal that isn’t yours to give away. I applaud him for wanting to rescue and care for dog. Shame on owner for not showing enough concern for her own pet to ensure dog is chipped, licensed and trackable.

  31. Sharyn Rogers

    Nov 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    No, I believe he did the right thing and the scumbags who prosecuted him need their sense of right and justice revised and corrected. Had he left the dog on the streets most likely the animal would be dead: hunger, automobile or by the hand of the animal rescue who picked him up. This man’s record needs to be expunged, his business (and license) returned to him and restitution paid for the time his business has been closed plus a HUGE fine for treating him AND his son as criminals. Why has the original owner of the dog NOT been charged with neglect??? THis is just one more example of little minds and little hearts in bodies with a little power who feel the need to flex those tiny muscles and make themselves feel important.

  32. Andrea White

    Nov 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    The owner should have been charged for not having a collar or tags on his dog, not the man that was trying to locate the owner and provide care for what he thought to be a stray in need of care. Our laws lack common sense.

  33. Kyra Ann

    Nov 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Only thing I would have done different was to turn the dog into the local shelter after not being to find the owner. I have little faith in humans anymore and this goes to show I have reason.

  34. Joyce Baumia

    Nov 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    No, This man did the right thing, He did a dilligent search to find the owner. The original owner should be grateful that the dog was rescued. It could have been injured or killed if it ran into traffic! Even if a dog is picked up by animal control, they would only hold it at most for 10 days before they adopt it out or at worse e
    uthenize it!

    • Andrea White

      Nov 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      10 days? Nice! Here they only hold for 3 days, then kill it. So sad. So wrong.

  35. Lynwood

    Nov 29, 2012 at 11:50 am

    “No good deed goes unpunished” What a shame.

  36. patti

    Nov 29, 2012 at 11:50 am

    What???????? Why not arrest the owner for neglect? WTF? is this world coming to?

  37. Deborah

    Nov 29, 2012 at 11:48 am

    OMG!!!!!!! I would have done exactly the same thing. What the heck is this world coming to when you cant even save a dog. How crazy this is. The man did the right thing and charges should be dropped. The original owners should be thanking him. not pressing charges. 🙁

  38. Sylvia Costello

    Nov 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

    That totally sucks! The guy went above and beyond what many people would have done to save this dog from being hit by a car or picked up by some creep.. Why don’t they start checking with the first people he gave the dog to and work from there?
    The owners evidentely were not looking too hard for him in the begining. Let them do a little work now to find him.

  39. Yvette

    Nov 29, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Ridiculous!!

    This man should be rewarded for trying to save the dog from an untimely death. A lot of dogs do not fair well on the street. It took the owner months to come looking for her dog!?!?!? Seriously?!?!?!

    What would have happened to that dog if Hernandez hadn’t care for it most of that time?

    Good grief. I would think it would be possible to trace the dog — who did Hernandez give it to? What happened to the dog after that?

    There’s a lot of this story that doesn’t make sense. He shouldn’t be punished.

    • Em Jay

      May 15, 2013 at 9:52 am

      And if he had immediately taken it to a shelter, it might have been put down, so he actually saved the little dog’s life. Doesn’t the dog’s original owner realize that? The dog had no I.D. on it of any kind, making this an actionable case of animal cruelty by neglect on the part of the original owner. This is a sorry lesson for the next good Samaritan: no good deed goes unpunished.

  40. Sandy Reyes

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Why do people get the bad end of the deal when all they want to do is show kindness? I do not understand the system?

  41. sandra morris

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:52 am

    This is so stupid it would have gotten hit by a car He is a hero in my opinion.And i agree with Norma where was the owner all those months.She could have run an add in the newspaper. I also think his ex boss is an asshole.

  42. Jannina

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I can’t believe this, this woman who used to own the should be
    Thankful that this guy did what he did, because she didn’t protect his Dog
    by put something in her dog so she can be located. This guy did what his heart
    told him to did and he does not deserve what he is going through, that’s why
    no one wants to do any good to anyone, people are so ungreatful…

  43. Jane Woerner

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    This man was saving a dog and trying to find the owner. Why not go after the people who abuse and throw away animals??

  44. l couch

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    CRAZY that an incredibly responsible dog owner led to police charging a responsible bystander. The police may not have had latitude, but hopefully the court does and will exercise its discretion (and common sense).

  45. Norma Mullet

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Where was this supposed owner for several months??..If she was so concerned about her dog, she should have had him registered and chipped!…why had there been no contacting of shelters…rescues..veterinarians..posters put up…any one of a number of ways to get that info out..especially in the San Antonio area!..He’s more in trouble because he should have kept the name and contact number of whoever he “gave” this animal to..but he shouldn’t be losing his license and livelihood over something that may have basically been due to her carelessness and neglect!!

  46. Maggie Stiles

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Heck No! He did the right thing. The original owner was negligent because the dog did not have any i.d. tag or microchip and it was not contained on the owner’s property! I cannot count how many strays I have picked up. Luckily I have been able to reunite most of them with their owners but I do not live in an extremely large city. There have been times that it has taken me over a week to track down the owner and believe me, it took A LOT of time and effort to do it!

    This man is innocent, the owner should be cited, not the rescuer!!!

    • carol

      Nov 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      amen!

  47. nikki rodriguez

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:15 am

    How fricken rediculous!!! That is EXACTLY why we have so many unrescued animals out there… The original dog owner should have been charged with neglect or endangering an animal! NOT the gentleman that rescued the puppy! I just hope this does not detere others from helping lost animals… All charges need to be dropped, and his license reinstated… How pathetic is the woman, and the Texas police!!! If either of my dogs got lost, I would hope and pray, someone like this gentleman, would take them in and care for them, or find them a good home, if I could not be found like that woman! I love my babies so much, but I would rather they be cared for by someone else, than cold, hungry on the streets, or worse! Thank you to this gentleman, from all dogs, and dog lovers around the world!

  48. Joanne

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:13 am

    No, He does not deserve to charged with theft. He did a good deed. The owner should be arrested for having their dog unleashed to run away and had no license on the dog. There should be more people like him

    • carol

      Nov 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      OMG forgive the man! He doing more than most people would do for an animal! He should have taken the dog to a rescue shelter, but he did the next best thing!

      • MabelLou Brown

        Dec 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm

        If he had taken the dog to a rescue shelter, or the pound, it would have a permanent home long before he finally found it one. If the guy didn’t look or publish something or anything for that long, he doesn’t deserve to have any dog, little alone a doxie!!

        • Longknife21

          May 24, 2013 at 1:19 am

          There’s nothing in this article that says he didn’t post flyers or contact HRS or ASPCA. You have a pathetic leap to judgement on this one.

  49. Darlene

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I cannot believe it. This man, is a good man for rescuing the dachshund, and bringing it into his home. How was this original owner able to get an arrest warrent on him? This is WRONG!!

  50. Debra Daniel

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:03 am

    This is totally rediculous!!! The man was just trying to do a good thing out of the kindness of his heart! And this ‘b#@6th’ comes along and has him arrested! Some people!

  51. kaye

    Nov 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

    ridiculous. some of these inane acts by law enforcement are the reason why people are afraid to help anyone, or animal … when the goodness of the heart is mistreated and purposely misunderstood ~ the world becomes exactly what it is becoming.

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