Canine crime cracked: Pilfered pup picked up

Published 11:44 am Friday, June 3, 2011

It’s the case of a pilfered dog that was settled by high-tech scientific testing.

A Vicksburg woman was charged Thursday with theft of a dog after DNA tests on a Boston terrier she claimed to be hers proved she was not the owner, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

Pace said Anita J. Martin, 47, 5630 Gibson Road, surrendered to sheriff’s investigators — with her attorney in tow — Thursday afternoon at the sheriff’s department. He said Martin was out on $5,000 bond, and the felony case will be presented to the Warren County grand jury that convenes July 25.

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Pace said the investigation of the theft began on Feb. 21, when a couple in the 5600 block of Gibson Road said their dog had been stolen from their home. The couple said they saw the dog in Martin’s yard while looking for it in the neighborhood.

When deputies questioned Martin, the sheriff said, she claimed the dog was hers. Pace said the markings on the dog matched the description of the animal given by the owners, but Martin continued to claim the dog as hers.

Pace said he discussed the case with the district attorney’s office, and an assistant district attorney was able to find a lab that specializes in animal DNA. Pace said DNA tests of blood samples from the dog and its parents proved that the animal was not Martin’s. After seeing the test results, he said, the dog’s owners signed an affidavit against Martin.

The pup has been returned to its owners, the sheriff said.