Rhonda Rose was tipped off about a neglected dog in her town of Portsmouth, Ohio. Given her position as treasurer of her local Humane Society, Rose wasn’t about to ignore a tortured animal.

So she went to the property where the dog was located and removed it. The first thing she did was feed the emaciated dog and take it to the vet, who confirmed that it was starving. She then called the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office for help.

Rose told WCMH that the dog had lost half his body weight. The next thing she knew, she was being charged with two misdemeanors: criminal trespass and petty theft.

WCMH reported that Rose had previous involvement with four civil cases, although none of them had to do with animals. The sheriff’s office would not comment on why Rose was being charged.

According to WCMH, Ohio state law allows individuals to remove animals from properties if they suspect abuse without liability.

The Ohio Revised Code 1717.13 states:

When, in order to protect any animal from neglect, it is necessary to take possession of it, any person may do so. When an animal is impounded or confined, and continues without necessary food, water, or proper attention for more than fifteen successive hours, any person may, as often as is necessary, enter any place in which the animal is impounded or confined and supply it with necessary food, water, and attention, so long as it remains there, or, if necessary, or convenient, he may remove such animal; and he shall not be liable to an action for such entry. In all cases the owner or custodian of such animal, if known to such person, immediately shall be notified by him of such action. If the owner or custodian is unknown to such person, and cannot with reasonable effort be ascertained by him, such animal shall be considered a stray and dealt with as such.

The necessary expenses for food and attention given to an animal under this section may be collected from the owner of such animal, and the animal shall not be exempt from levy and sale upon execution issued upon a judgment for such expenses.

Rose’s attorney, John Bell, told the station her only motivation was saving an animal from further abuse. He said:

“Even as a private citizen, Ms. Rose was within that statutory privilege in removing the animal she removed.”

Humane Society supporters showed up to the Portsmouth Municipal Courthouse to protest Rose’s charges.

Rose told WCMH:

“This has got to stop, animals are dying.”

Rose added that the rescued dog is now healthy and thriving:

“The dog is now in Kentucky on a 100-acre farm, gained weight, it weighed 61 pounds, it now weighs 120 pounds and is doing great.”

Rose’s trial is set for February. You can watch the WCMH report below.

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