Canadian police have issued an arrest warrant for a dog shelter owner on animal cruelty charges after the woman allegedly choked a dog to death.
Police in Toronto, Ontario allege that Rita Mueller used a leash to choke a Shar-Pei named Henry at Toronto Animal Services on August 24, 2012. She brought the dog to the facility on Sheppard Avenue for the purpose of transferring the dog to the facilty. She allegedly went into a room and hung the dog using a leash she brought with her. By the time facility workers discovered the dog and took him down, he was already dead. The woman apparently ran off.
Toronto Animal Services were initially handling the investigation internally, but called police in December. Contable Tony Vella told the Globe & Mail, "We're concerned because she may possess other dogs and we’re very concerned for their safety."
Police believe the suspect runs Scooby's Dog House and Rescue, a dog shelter with locations in Barrie and Caledon in Ontario. Last year, Mueller faced five charges and two convictions for violating Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Ontario SPCA said that the previous charges lead to 19 animals to be removed from the Caledon location and the surrendering of 10 others.
Mueller is described as 50 years old, white, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is 5’4” and 115 lbs., and frequents Peel Region and the City of Barrie.
Anyone with information can reach the police at 416-808-3100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be posted online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your messages to CRIMES (273637).
UPDATE: January 4, 2012
Mueller surrendered to police early this morning, a day after they issued a warrant for her arrest. She is scheduled to make a court appearance on Friday. Det.-Const. Tamara Lawrynowycz said Mueller is facing criminal charges in connection with the Aug. 24 incident.