Accused dog-napper jailed

Published April 13, 2006 1:19 am
In trouble again: This time, it's alleged she took a neighbor's dog without permission and had it neutered
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Janet Lane - who on Monday got in trouble with a 3rd District Court judge for having too many dogs - was rearrested Tuesday because of yet another pet-related crime.

Two years ago, Lane allegedly "dog-napped" a neighbor's registered golden Labrador retriever and paid a veterinarian to neuter it. Lane then dropped the Lab off in the night at a county animal shelter.

Lane, 45, was charged with criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, in June 2004, but had never appeared in court. She was arrested Tuesday on the outstanding warrant and spent the night in jail.

The Lab's owner, Yvette Brimhall, of Herriman, said Wednesday she was stuck with her own vet bills because "Duke" was not provided with a neck cone and injured himself by gnawing at the fresh surgical wound. The dog required emergency surgery.

Furthermore, Brimhall said, she and her husband lost potential fees they could have charged for Duke's services as a purebred stud.

Lane is a well-known advocate for spaying and neutering pets who has spent thousands of dollars sheltering homeless animals and getting them fixed.

But Brimhall said Lane had no right to steal and neuter her dog.

"It's not for her to decide," Brimhall told The Tribune. "And how could she drop our dog off without the proper protection? He could have died. I don't see that as a humane act."

On Monday, Lane had appeared in court to be sentenced for having five more dogs than the two-per-household allowed by Herriman city. Four months earlier, she had pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors.

Judge Stephen Henriod was shocked to learn Monday that Lane had not gotten rid of the extra dogs. He told her she should have shot the extra dogs rather than come to court in blatant violation of the law, and he sentenced her to 180 days in jail.

The judge was vilified by animal lovers for making the dog-shooting comment. But he apologized at a Tuesday hearing, insisting he was trying to make a point with Lane and meant no harm to her dogs.

Because Lane's friends had meanwhile taken her surplus dogs to a shelter, Henriod said she could be released from jail.

But jailers discovered the outstanding warrant in the neutering case and she remained behind bars until Wednesday afternoon. Lane's next court date on that case is April 25 before Judge Paul Maughan.

The alleged dog-napping occurred on March 2, 2004, when Lane took Duke to a Salt Lake City veterinarian, according to the charges. A camera at Salt Lake County Animal Control Services caught her dropping the dog at the shelter that night, and recorded the license number of her van.

Meanwhile, Brimhall had contacted Lane and other neighbors looking for Duke. She said Lane - who knew Duke - twice denied any knowledge of the dog's whereabouts.

Two days later, Animal Services called to say they had identified Duke from his implanted chip, and said the dog had apparently suffered a botched neutering.

Lane eventually admitted she was the culprit, but told investigators the Brimhalls were "not completely blameless" because their dog was running loose, according to court documents.

Brimhall said Lane typically walks a half-dozen unleashed dogs. And Lane's own female dogs are not spayed, Brimhall said, which is an attraction to male dogs.

"I think she's baiting dogs," Brimhall said.

But Cheryl Smith, director of Wasatch Humane, called Lane a "long-time responsible dog rescuer" who fosters for shelters, cares for homeless dogs and is "saving animals [and] serving our community."

Smith wants Henriod removed from the bench for his dog-shooting comment and is urging pet lovers to file complaints with Utah's Judicial Conduct Commission.




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