A jury found 63-year-old Sandra Inman of Tennessee guilty of felony theft on Thursday for stealing a hunting dog during a bear hunt.
Additionally, she is also guilty of illegally removing the dog’s tracking collar, according to Matthew Cameron, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
However, Cameron said Inman was found not guilty of violating Tennessee’s hunter harassment law.
The value of the dog is allegedly more than $2,500, which makes the theft a Class D felony. That means Inman faces two to 12 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $5,000.
The case goes back to 2018 when Inman found the dog roaming along the Foothills Parkway in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, the owner of the dog was bear hunting legally outside the park.
According to an anonymous friend, Inman made an attempt to contact the owner from the phone number listed on the dog’s collar. However, that attempt was allegedly unsuccessful.
The friend claimed Inman told her that she had no idea the dog was a hunting dog . The anonymous woman also said Inman expressed concern for the dog’s safety so she returned him to the Knoxville area.
Inman’s defense attorney, Robert White told the jury, “Her motivation was not to steal the dog. Her motivation was to help the dog,” according to the Blount County Daily Times.
The jury examined details of the investigation for about an hour-and-a-half before reaching its verdict, according to WVLT.
Sentencing for Inman in the case will take place on November 9th.
The 4-year-old pooch named Dominic, was rightfully returned to his owner, Gordon Denu.
Denu shared this thoughts on the case. “If you see a dog with a collar on it, leave it alone and contact authorities,” he said.