A Virginia woman was arrested Thursday in connection with the fatal shooting of six puppies. The woman, 39-year-old Betty G. Hemp from Middlebrook, allegedly shot the puppies to death. Police officials say she then dumped their tiny bodies over an embankment, reports 16WNDU.
The incident started when the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office received reports that the dogs were killed and dumped on the 200 block of Troxel Gap Road. They and Augusta County Animal Control officials were dispatched to investigate on December 22.
Once they arrived, the investigators said they found the deceased puppies, and that they were “between four to six months old.” The investigators said the small dogs suffered from what appeared to be gunshot wounds and added that they didn’t know what led someone to kill the puppies, reports WRIC.
Betty G. Hemp was later arrested in connection with the killing and dumping of the pups. The Virginia woman was charged with six felony counts of animal cruelty and six misdemeanor counts of dumping illegally. Hemp was released from custody after making an unsecured $2,500 bond.
Tim Martin, the Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney, weighed in on the case, and he spoke about it to news outlets, reports WHSV3. Martin said that his office takes cases of cruelty to animals “very seriously,” and that each of the six charges could bring a sentence from zero to five years.
Betty G. Hemp of Middlebrook has been arrested in Augusta County, Virginia for the shooting & killing of 6 puppies.— ℳστςαπ???? (@msmorgan1968) December 27, 2018
They were then callously & without remorse, thrown down an embankment.
She faces felony counts of animal cruelty & was released on bond.https://t.co/MGAB93UOWm
Tim Martin went on to explain that sentencing could vary for the animal cruelty charges depending on facts of the case and Betty G. Hemp’s criminal history. He said that other factors considered in cases of animal cruelty can cause different rules to apply, such as the type of animal involved and whether you are causing an animal to suffer or keeping them from it.
Martin pointed out that in the case of where Betty G. Hemp allegedly killed the dogs, it was a situation that caused the suffering of the animals. The Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney gave the following statement to news outlets. “I think we’ve all gone through that sad experience of euthanizing a pet, and that’s heartbreaking. That’s not what this was.”
Police are requesting people with information relative to the the investigation to contact Deputy C. R. Hartman with Augusta County Sheriff’s Office at (540) 245-5333 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-322-2017.
Also, importantly, if you suspect that an animal is being abused, neglected, or mistreated, you can report it. According to lawyers.com, “It’s a crime in Virginia to abuse or abandon any animals, or not to meet the responsibilities that come with owning pets.”
To report the abuse, the online lawyers at lawyers.com recommend that you contact law enforcement, your local animal control agency, or the humane society. Humane society staff can typically tell you if your local sheriff’s department or police will act on the problem.