Pretrial conference held for woman charged with dog\’s removal from private property

A pretrial conference was held earlier this week for Tammy Sneath Grimes of RD 5, Tyrone.
She is the woman charged with theft by unlawful taking or disposition, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief and criminal trespass stemming from her alleged removal of a dog from a private property in East Freedom in September. The criminal mischief and criminal trespass charges were dropped as a result of her Sept. 21 preliminary hearing. Grimes is the founder of Tipton-based Dogs Deserve Better.
According to information in a Nov. 27 press release posted on the organization’s web site and verified by the Blair County DA’s office, no deal in the case had been reached. According to the web site, Grimes’ attorney, Thomas Dickey, was planning to file a motion to dismiss charges sometime this week. However, the site also indicated Grimes intended to continue to a jury trial in the event the charges were not dismissed.
The Blair County District Attorney’s office said it did not have notification that any motion from Dickey had been filed as of Wednesday afternoon. Attempts were made to reach Dickey at his office, but he had not responded by The Herald’s deadline for this story.
The Dogs Deserve Better web site indicated Grimes expected to meet with Dickey to plan future moves in the case within a week of Monday’s press release. Another pretrial conference is scheduled in February prior to jury selection and trial.
Grimes was charged in September after she allegedly removed a 19-year-old German Shepherd mix from his chain and took the animal to get care.
An Associated Press story about Grimes’ preliminary hearing said Grimes called it an act of compassion.
According to the AP, the dog’s owner, Lori Arnold, was asked during the preliminary hearing if there was any reason someone would take the dog named Jake.
“I have no clue,” said Arnold.
AP reported that Grimes’ organization, “Dogs Deserve Better”, advocates against chaining or penning dogs outside. Police said that Grimes told them that she had taken Jake on Sept. 11 and brought the dog to a veterinarian.
According to the AP report, Dickey tried to argue at the preliminary hearing that Jake was taken because he was neglected. District Judge Craig Ormsby said that was an issue to present to a jury, not at a preliminary hearing.
The vet found the dog was malnourished, had an enlarged heart and had a hip condition, according to Grimes. She renamed the dog “Doogie” and placed the animal in foster care. At the time of Grimes’ preliminary hearing, she had refused to return the dog to the Arnolds.
AP reported the owners contended their dog has never been mistreated. A Humane Society representative at Ormsby’s office said the organization had never received a complaint about Jake.
The AP story said the dog suffered from arthritis and his condition had deteriorated during the month prior to being removed from the Arnold’s property. Mr. Arnold said the dog had trouble standing at times. The couple contemplated putting him down, and Lori Arnold said in court she had called the vet about it the day Jake was taken.
The AP reported a neighbor, Kim Eicher, who also owns a dog and lives across the street from the Arnolds, said Jake had not gotten up for three days, a premise that the Arnolds dispute. She said she placed a call to the Humane Society on Saturday, Sept. 9, but did not get a response that day.
The next day she walked over to check to see if Jake was breathing. Finally, on a rainy Sept. 11, Eicher said she called Grimes’ office.
Grimes arrived with a video camera. Jake was tied up, laying on mud, with some feces on his back, she said. Freedom Township Police Chief John Reilly, whose department handled the investigation, said the Arnolds had followed the law in providing food, water and shelter for Jake.
Grimes was released on $50,000 unsecured bail after her arraignment in September before Magisterial District Judge Paula Aigner.