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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.