Dogs & Laws

Missouri Woman Charged With Misdemeanor After Rescuing Stray Dog

Jessica Dudding faces criminal charges after rescuing a yellow Lab she found tied to a sewer pipe on Dec. 27. Photo courtesy Jessica Dudding.

Jessica Dudding faces criminal charges after rescuing a yellow Lab she found tied to a sewer pipe on Dec. 27. Photo courtesy Jessica Dudding.

As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

When Jessica Dudding, a mother from Lincoln County, Missouri, found a yellow Labrador tied to a sewer pipe in a vacant lot of her subdivision in December, wearing no identification tags, and at risk of freezing to death, she did what any dog lover would do and helped.

Because Dudding has three children and two dogs of her own, bringing the stray Lab to her home wasn’t an option. She called the Lincoln Country Sheriff’s Department and discovered that the county had no facility for taking in strays. So, Dudding took the dog to the nearby Wentzville shelter.

When asked where she found the dog, Dudding told police she found him within Wentzville city limits, for fear that they would not take the animal if she told them the truth.

A few days later, the dog’s owner was found and 3-year old Diesel was returned to his home. Bryan Campbell, Diesel’s owner, told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that his dog had run off after the battery in his electronic fence collar had died. It is unknown who caught Diesel and tied him to the pipe.

It was when Dudding discovered that police were charging Campbell with a $50 fine for allowing his dog to run loose that she decided to step forward with the truth, in hopes that his fine would be dropped. Instead, police are now charging Dudding with filing a false police report, a misdemeanor.

Now, because Dudding went above and beyond to protect a dog from dying in the bitter cold on that December night, she faces criminal charges. While she originally planned to fight the charge, Dudding, a mother of three, cannot risk jail time. So, she plans to plead ‘no contest’ to the charges. In exchange for her plea, she faces one year of probation and community service.

The dog’s owner and several members of the community have stepped forward with offers to pay any fine she receives as a result of saving Diesel.

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42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. ashley

    Feb 22, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    You can charge this woman for helping a poor dog but when someone get shot it take them a lifetime to show up or they can’t find any leads to save their life excuse my French but f*** the justice system kiss my entire behind

  2. ashley

    Feb 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    You can charge this woman for helping a poor dog but when someone get shoot it take them a lifetime to show up or they can’t find any leads to save their life excuse my French but f*** the justice system kiss my entire behind

  3. Gene

    Feb 22, 2014 at 6:54 am

    It’s always easier to arrest or prosecute someone whom you KNOW doesn’t have the resources to fight the charge, which is why so many people who DO have resources either never get charged, or walk. Officials have apparently been stripped of any creative thinking and compassion, and instead go strictly by “the rules” – unless someone has the power and/or money to make that difficult, they they move on to the next powerless person who tries to do the right thing.

  4. Paula

    Feb 21, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Do they realize how much it will cost the taxpayers to go through with these “stupid” charges? What a waste of taxpayer dollars!!!! If she gets put on probation that ties up a probation officer having to take the time to check up on this person and meet with them either weekly or monthly for what is truly not a crime, while a true criminal may be getting away with other crimes because the probation officer doesn’t have time to check up on all his probationers because he has to spend time dealing with someone who really didn’t commit any true crime!! And people wonder why crimes are continually done by a repeat offender!! Leave the woman alone, the only thing hurt in this supposed crime was the police officers time taking the report, but if I’m correct isn’t that part of his job description? Thank you to the woman who took care of this dog! We need more people like you in this world!

  5. Mike

    Feb 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    When you post stuff like this dogington post why don’t you post email addresses or websites we can reply too to get the police involved to change their mind. Although I love most of the stuff you post, I find this annoying and you seem to do it a lot.

  6. john sanborn

    Feb 20, 2014 at 9:49 am

    This story is seriously flawed, misdemeanors don’t get jail time or community service. Why file a police report in the first place, the police didn’t take the dog.She had to file against whoever abandoned the dog, the shelter should have done that after learning the facts and a medical check. She would have been fine then.

  7. dolores dulaney

    Feb 20, 2014 at 1:43 am

    I think everything that can be said has been…We do need to make more sensible laws to protect these innocent furbabies…we can’t seem to protect our children so what are we to do…I understand there is a bill pending # 130 that has some stricter, or should I say rules concerning puppy mills…how many pupies they can sell in a year and inspections of the premises…What I don’t understand is I thought puppy mills were against the law period. Somebody explain it…

  8. Becky

    Feb 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    The police don’t take kindly to people like this ONLY because she “wasted” their time. It’s just a way for them to legally get back at her for making them get involved. By involved, I mean a desk cop having to make a report. He is pissed that an hour of his life, while on the job he’s supposed to be doing in the first place, was “wasted” when he could have been eating a donut or pooping on the clock. That’s all it boils down to…a cop got pissed he had to do what he gets paid to do so he retaliates by teaching her a “lesson.” I’d like to know though, even though they charged her with the crime, is the State’s Attorney’s office REALLY going to follow through with prosecuting the charge? I’d love to see them decide they are not filing the false report charge against her after all which in turn would teach that pissed off officer a “lesson” of his own. Don’t waste the State’s time with your petty grudges.

  9. Lynn Patton

    Feb 19, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Isn’t what she DID “community service”?? The dog’s owner sure thought so! His dog would have died if not for her! This world is more FUBARed every day.

  10. Cheryl

    Feb 19, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    It is sad, maybe this is why people don’t get involved.

  11. former resident

    Feb 19, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Missouri is a dumb-ass state anyway. Doesn’t surprise me.

  12. Esther

    Feb 19, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Really!!Are you kidding me, leave this woman alone. She was only trying to save this poor dog…I think every dog lover who lives nearby or in this town should protest in front of the police building….

  13. Peggy Foster

    Feb 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    WTH, leave her alone, she saved this poor dogs life & this how she gets repaid by police. Get real guys don’t you have something better to do than persecute a hero, if not your stat needs to get rid of dead weight, just sayi.:-(

  14. Ironic

    Feb 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    …but kill a kid claiming “self defense” and walk free…

    This country has a messed up legal system and nothing will change ever unless we the people force a change.

  15. Bart Koppen

    Feb 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Bizar!! America: land of the free, land of oppertunity. Bullshit! You are more bureaucratic than Russia and DDR together during the Cold War. Fining an empathic mother who cares about living creatures. Shame on you!!

  16. Kathy Liggett

    Feb 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    This is starting to be more the norm than the exception! Compassionate, kind people are coming across heinous animal cruelty, attempting to follow the rules by calling authorities, being told everything is fine, the animals like it, there is no law broken, or some other worse than useless jargon. Feeling compelled to help, then the good guys help the animals and risk being the one in trouble.
    Things are so very wrong and the majority of people are tired of. Time to change the rules to be in favor of helping animals and the good guys helping them!

  17. Loretta Greene

    Feb 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Missouri sucks for helping animals anyway. They are one of the worst states for puppy mills. And seems to not care or want to do anything about it.

  18. eddy eavenson

    Feb 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    oh good lord, what a bunch of crap, it’s become
    such an insensitive world, but to the lady who
    saved Diesel’s life, thank you, to the person who
    tied the dog to the pole, try a bit harder next time,
    but thank you also, just concerned he had no
    shelter….kind hearts will be rewarded!

  19. Ruth Ann Burke

    Feb 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    This is the reason why a lot of people don’t report any kind of crimes or abuse. They are afraid that they might get into some kind of trouble.

  20. Patricia Jubera

    Feb 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    This is rediculous that this woman is being treated this way. I suppose this town encourages animal abuse as well. They must think that it is ok to let an animal freeze to death. I didn’t hear anyone say that they would have taken the dog if she had said where she had found it. Most likely not. The woman was acting in the best interest of the dog. Thank God for her actions. But to threaten her with jail time is the crime. The cops and the town, county, and state, should be ashamed of themselves. Such narrowmindedness is what your state is known for and this just proves that.

  21. joyce england

    Feb 19, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I read this stuff and wonder how everyone is so messed up .isn’t there anyone with common sense anymore. Why cant they just be glad to dog was saved and thank the lady and move on. There is too much evil to worry about .This was a story with a happy ending

  22. Becky Wurzel

    Feb 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    This is so sad. Do we want people helping, or turning a blind eye….

  23. Gail Stein

    Feb 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I find that in this sick country/state the things we should worry about we don’t ,like murders,child molesters etc.we won’t use the death penalty on those who should receive it but well use the gas chamber on a poor helpless dog.this woman tried to do what was humane ,kind,loving and what any humane being with feelings and love for animals would do.I think its terrible that she has been targeted for this .I am ashamed of these officers and this crap

  24. Karen Weitzel

    Feb 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    that’s disgusting that she should be fined what is this world coming to those who are out there set on hurting animals get nothing but this woman was saving this dogs life police should be ashamed of themselves anything to make a buck not impressed

  25. Lynn

    Feb 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Aren’t there any real criminals to be focused on? And why isn’t the owner expressing his thanks for saving his dog from an unknown fate?

    • sam

      Feb 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      the article says that the owner has offered to pay for ay fines she receives. I’m sure the owner expressed his thanks, it just wasn’t written about in this article.

  26. Wayne Dale

    Feb 19, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Well what you expect from Missouri after all they are the puppy mill capital. The only reason she lied was to help the dog she was afraid they would not take it if she told him the truth.

    • Ruth

      Feb 20, 2014 at 12:46 am

      I didn’t realize this was in Missouri. Isn’t that the same state who held Phineas captive for 18months when he was innocent of that bite?

  27. Cusith

    Feb 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    No, she faces charges for lying on an offical document.

  28. Chris

    Feb 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    As my mom said, liars never prosper.

    • Frieda

      Feb 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Well, your mom was a very judgmental, unkind person with little or no compassion for those in need. Lucky you.

      • Wayne Dale

        Feb 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm

        If liars never prosper then explain our government they lie all the time and they seem to prosper.

      • Lissie

        Feb 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm

        Seriously Frieda? Chris’s mother was right! She wasn’t charged for taking the dog, she was charged for lying! And making a derogatory statement about her was well, judgmental, unkind and lacking compassion!!

        • Jenny

          Feb 19, 2014 at 12:53 pm

          Not saying that lying was the correct thing to do she did what she had to. Being a Lincoln County resident, there is no where in Lincoln County for us to turn in a stray or lost animal. St. Charles or any other county will take in the animals, so she did what she had to do to save the animals life. I agree that Lincoln County needs to find a solution to this issue instead of charging people with a crime when trying to be a good citizen.

    • Tara Baker

      Feb 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Liars never do prosper. I’d have lied anyway in that situation. I wonder if the truth would have helped to begin with…. Sounds like no one cares about the dogs anyway. I can’t believe she’s being charged. The dog’s owner is the one who should be charged and sentenced to life tied up to a pole!

    • Rick

      Feb 19, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      WTF does a lame remark like that mean?

  29. William Powell

    Feb 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    When she told shelter where she found the dog, I am surprised he didn’t say, “Show me?”

    This is awful, saving the dog from the cold should be what is focused upon here…shame on Lincoln County for not having some arrangement for sheltering dogs during the very cold winter we have been having.

  30. Shawn

    Feb 19, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Sometimes people do the wrong thing for the right reason. Clearly she wanted to do the right thing here. No one was hurt, leave her alone and go after a real criminal.

    • Kathy

      Feb 19, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      I totally agree with u on this, they should go after the REAL criminals I admire her for what she did.

      • J.Frankland

        Feb 22, 2014 at 11:25 pm

        Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!! The woman helps the dog and now SHE is getting punished for it???!!!!!!! Yes, go after the REAL criminals and leave the good people alone!

  31. Julie

    Feb 19, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Good lord……really? No wonder our judicial system is all clogged up. Such nonsense.

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