Woman Arrested After Trying to Reunite Dog with Owner

If you find a stray pet on the side of a Mississippi road, make sure you understand the law – or you risk spending time in jail.

If you find a stray pet on the side of a Mississippi road make sure you understand the law or you risk spending time in jail. That warning from animal rescuer Stephanie Mitchell is based on personal experience. The Drifter’s Place Animal Rescue director was arrested after trying to reunite a lost dog with its owners.

Mitchell picked up a stray dog on the side of the road in Oxford last week. The dog was not wearing any form of identification, so she brought it home for the night.

She was arrested 24 hours later, and maintains that something needs to be done to modify state law.

“I took it home, put it in my house, slept on a couch and the next day spent half a day trying to find the owners only to be arrested.”

Mitchell had visited local vets and businesses in an attempt to identify an owner,  but when none were identified, she put the dog’s picture on Facebook. Within an hour the owners of the dog found the picture. They also accused Mitchell of stealing their dog.

Mitchell said that after a brief argument, she dropped the dog off at a local vet and told the dog’s owners they could retrieve it there.

“Later on that afternoon I received a phone call that I was to come to the sheriff’s department because I had a warrant out for my arrest,” Mitchell said.

148 thoughts on “Woman Arrested After Trying to Reunite Dog with Owner

  1. Worse than absurd! But it may take publicity from this incident to get that law changed. Where’s the news media when you need ’em?

  2. oh man, this is ridiculous!! of course when people are actually hurting or torturing dogs, nobody is there to rescue them, right?!

  3. WTF? She gets the dog off the road, preventing the dog from being killed, and maybe even a human in a car accident, tries to find the owners and she’s arrested? Definitely need new laws in MS.

  4. For the same reason drug dealers serve years and years in prison and child molesters get a slap on the wrist….twisted system!!

  5. Had to be Mississippi!! They arrest good samaritans and let cruel animal torturers go free!!!! WTH!!!?

  6. I’d rather somebody take my lost dog home and take care of it until I found it rather than have it running the streets for freaking sake!!! Ungrateful scums…

  7. Some things are just “worth” getting into trouble for!! I have told that to my kids many times. It is the golden rule, karma, or whatever you want to call it. Perhaps the owners would have preferred to find their dear pet dead on the side of the road. I wish no harm to their pet, but Karma can bite someone in the butt!!!!

  8. This is just stupid! I would have and will continue to do the same thing when i see an animal in need. What would the owners want? FOr the dog to get hurt or worse wandering into that road?

  9. BUT NO LEASE LAW!!??? Oh come on! So the irresponsible owners are letting the dog wander, possibly to get hit by a car? Logical!

  10. SHAME ON THOSE OWNERS,hope Karma comes to them and bites them in the butt! at least there dog is well taken care of and not dead on the road! or never found at all.

  11. I don’t agree with what happened at all, and hopefully the law will be changed. I also wonder what more there is to this story that the media is not reporting. To try to give some better understanding, the culture in this area is of the rural nature–dogs roam loose in the country. We battle this in the nearby cities as well–people bring this culture with them to the city. It was just a few months ago that in this same town someone was shooting pets. It was brought to the attention of the local media by a vet there.

  12. Well folks, we are talking about Mississippi here. Sorry but it always seems like MS is always one of the most ass-backwards states in the U.S.

  13. shame on the owners for having this wonderful lady arrested if it was not for her their dog could have been hit by a car and killed or actually stolen and used a dog bait. they should be happy she took the dog home where it was safe. the owners should be fined for letting their dog wander.

  14. Had a similar situation last week when a stray walked through the electric sliding doors of the hospital where I work. The thought did cross my mind that he might be a runaway so I called the local animal warden. Not having complete trust in them, staff members called throughout the weekend to make sure the dog was okay. Once he was transferred to the county animal shelter, a staff member called, made an appointment and will be picking up his new dog this very afternoon! Stinks that you have to jump through hoops like that…but in this day and age… you do.

  15. This is unbelieveable! This dog sure has some sorry owners. No appreciation! Also, they don’t have laws against puppy mills where thousands of dogs are tortured, but they have this law? Wow

  16. How did she know it was a ‘stray.’ Just because a dog wanders around during the day doesn’t mean it is a stray.

  17. It really is a simple solution. Require dogs be tagged or microchipped. That way, a good Samaritan will know that the dog is not a stray. Problem solved.

    1. To clarify, there is no leash law in this particular rural jurisdiction. This is not a state-wide Mississippi thing. There has been a leash law in most of the cities in Mississippi where I have lived. The one place which did not have one was literally in the middle of nowhere.

      No directed at you in particular, Shaun – but to the rest of you.. could we cut the Mississippi crap?

  18. That’s awful, how inconsiderate! Damned if you do and if you don’t! I would have done the same, I cant believe these people had her arrested! UGH

  19. Why didn’t the owners get arrested for allowing their dog to roam freely? It’s obvious the owners are a bunch of morons. Instead of thanking the woman they have her arrested.

  20. In Virginia hunters turn their dogs out to chase deer each fall and many end up roadside. Rescuers saved one dog from the side of a truck route only to be arrested for grand theft because he belonged to the local sheriff who claimed it was his champion breeder worth thousands. Shameful bullies.


  22. The owners an idiot..next time the dog goes missing, maybe no one will find it and pick it upkeep it in good hands for a night..good work owners.

  23. This is awful. Stories like this will just encourage people to look the other way instead of helping animals in need. It seems that there are some pieces missing in this story. If this is all there is, it doesn’t make sense.

  24. So an owner is allowed to be irresponsible and let their dog run loose without any ID, but a person who tries to help that dog gets arrested? Makes perfect sense! At least this lady has brought the matter to the public’s attention and perhaps some good will come of all this in the end and the law will be changed. I wish her the very best of luck.

  25. I admire this woman for basically risking being bit…ran over…etc. Then these ungrateful people do this to this wonderful woman. She should have been picking up a reward. If something had happened to the dog, i bet these owners would be putting up posters….crying….just all the things this hero did for them. I have picked up many strays to save them from getting run over. Even stopping traffic. When the people in the cars saw what i was trying to do they got out of their cars to help me. And, i will continue to help strays. I agree with Lois and Christie. These people should be ashamed and drop charges and give her an apology and a reward. But, i am sure from the sound of these people, that will never happen.

  26. What is wrong with the world today! The kind person was trying to find the owner- a thief would not. The owners should be overjoyed that a kind helpful person fostered the pet and comforted it due the time. Poor dog had to be scared. The community should scold and teach the owners to respect kindness and teach the owners the two words they should say- “Thank you”

  27. WTH?!?!? The people who can’t keep their dog properly secured in a safe place are the ones who need to be arrested. Do a good deed and get arrested.

  28. So stupid! She was trying to help. Instead of being appreciati, I think these owners were in trouble and to get of it they said what they did. Amazing. No wonder the world is like it is!

  29. kind of outrageous… especially considering who she was and the fact that she ran a shelter… they should have been thanking her for her concern for their animal… more than they had themselves since it was up along the road. They might also want to , gee I don’t know, put some ID ON THE ANIMAL?!?!??! ESPECIALLY since they DON’T have a leash law and animals can wander?!?!?!

  30. simple solution: pass a law that says all dogs must have identification. Either collar with tags or a chip.

  31. WTH!!!! this is ridiculous, are we supposed to just turn the other way and hope they don’t get hurt or killed?

  32. Please continue to rescue stray dogs. Don’t let one exceptional idiot deter you from doing good work. Thank you for what you do!

  33. Whoa, simmer down Joanna Sharkey!!! Let’s not make such broad negative statements which have no basis in fact. That’s called prejudice.

  34. Wow! That’s shitty of the owners. Next time their dog is running around loose, I hope the next person who finds the dog keeps it. They don’t sound like good animal owners

  35. WOW!!! I guess Mississippi is as backward a state as you can find. What other stupid laws do they have? You won’t find me visiting (or even driving through) Mississippi anytime soon—not in this lifetime! Unbelievable!!!!

    1. LOL @ Grace…I am right there with you. Just when you think you have heard them all. First and foremost there should be a leash law, I wonder of you even have to register dogs there?! Maybe they should have a law that states if there is no sign of a ‘tag” then assume its a stray OR if they are going to have a dumb-ass law like that then at least do it case by case…i guess that is how people are in the backwoods. It is hard not to judge in this particular scenario because the lady clearly was doing the right thing….lord be it for someone to do something good and be thanked for it.

  36. Sickening! It’s Idiocracy at its best. I honestly can’t believe pd actually arrested her! Hope the DA isn’t a moron too!

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