Illinois animal shelter scammed by animal abuse claim

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Web Editor - Nick Miller
Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

JACKSON COUNTY, IL - A woman who claimed to have seen puppies thrown over a bridge into a creek made the story up.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office was notified of an alleged mistreatment of animals around 8:30 a.m. on Friday. The caller alleged she saw a man dump a garbage bag with three puppies over a bridge and into a creek off of Dillinger Road. She also alleged that the man later drove away.

She initially brought the puppies, a Labrador-Golden Retriever mix, to the St. Francis CARE Shelter in Murphysboro, Ill. Diane Daugherty, President of the Board of Directors, told Local 6 she was furious when she heard the woman's account. 

"I was irate. I couldn't believe it," she said. Turns out, she shouldn't have believed it. After about 24 hours of investigating, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department determined she was lying.

 

A detective told Daugherty that a family member confirmed the woman did not find the puppies in a river, but in fact belonged to the woman.

The puppies, named Candy, Cindy, and Callie by the shelter, are in good heath.

Daughtery said her shelter has never been scammed like this before and she apologizes for the unnecessary alarm, although she is glad that a very real problem is getting some attention.

"We've had puppies brought in that were legitimately fished out of the big muddy river," she said. "We've had puppies thrown in a trash bag in someone's yard, in a box on the side of the road. It happens all the time. We need to do something about the unwanted animal population."

It's not clear if the woman will face any criminal charges.

Daugherty added there is a happy ending for the puppies who already have pending adoptions and she hopes the next time a true story comes in, the same kind of attention gets out.

 "We caught on this ban wagon, but we need to be on the ban wagon all the time."

 

"I think she brought them in here and she was embarrassed and it ballooned to something she just couldn't imagine," she said.

 

 

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