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LAFAYETTE COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -
A chicken's death has led to criminal charges, and the suspects are two dogs. The dogs' owner is now charged with animal abuse.
Two loose Chihuahuas are causing a stir in Lafayette County, MO, that has their owner at wit's end.
"I didn't think this was a big deal," Joy McDonald said.
But now that the story about Peaches and Domino has gotten out, McDonald has been getting more attention than she expected.
"It makes me feel like a horrible person. I just think this has blown way out of proportion. I said, 'I was sorry.' I tried paying for it. I built a dog pen," she said.
The pen is for the two pups. When a neighbor's chicken died, the Chihuahuas got the blame.
The chicken was a pet, and the neighbor said the dogs were near it, getting it worked up. Now, McDonald is faced with a misdemeanor charge of animal abuse.
"I don't exactly like being charged with a Class A misdemeanor, and I don't want to be in a feud with my neighbor. I don't want all my other neighbors to be upset because of all this media attention," she said.
That attention also includes cracks against the neighbor and the prosecutor.
"The prosecutor does go after serial killers and rapists and child abuse cases and I think that she is getting it pretty harsh," she said.
After getting with a lawyer Tuesday, McDonald is now less stressed about the prospect of jail, fines and job loss. Now, she wants to put it all behind her and everyone else on the block.
"I've had people cracking jokes. I have never personally thought this was funny, because they were her pets, and I am very sorry,"she aid.
McDonald is still a little worried about being labeled an animal abuser, especially since the 29-year-old nurse wants to become a vet.
The title of the crime is misleading. In her case the crime is "having ownership or custody of an animal" and "knowingly fail to provide adequate control." So really all the charge is accusing her of is letting her dogs off her property.
The prosecutor said it is the state law that seemed to apply out in the county, where there are no city leash laws.
The prosecutor said this would not have gone to court if it had not been an ongoing issue with previous remedies failing. McDonald said she had no direct complaints previously.
The chicken owners had a no trespassing sign posted, so KCTV5 did not approach their door for comment.
In KCTV5's Betsy Webster's live introduction leading into her story on this incident, she showed a dumped golden retriever. KCTV5 News has been contacted by various people inquiring about the dog. Webster said, being that she found the dog late at night and was unfamiliar with shelters in the area, she took the dog home and listed him on multiple lost and found websites. She has gotten no leads through the sites, but is currently working with a great adoption center to get the dog neutered and ready for adoption. Meanwhile, the golden retriever is getting along very well with Webster's dog, Chewie.
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