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Criminal Charge Filed in Dog Poisoning

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RALEIGH — Wake County Attorney Colon Willoughby hasdecided to enter a misdemeanor criminal charge against Deputy SheriffRichard Lambert. Lambert is accused of fatally poisoning a neighbor's dogwith anti-freeze-laced hamburger meat that he set out by his garbagepails. He will also file charges against Lisa Bailey, the dog's owner,for violating the county's leash law.

Willoughby said he received a number of telephone calls from thepublic about the matter. Initially, the investigating animal controlofficer had filed only a civil complaint against Lambert, which carries amaximum $100 fine.

Lambert had also volunteered to pay Bailey's veterinarian bills, whichamount to $1000, for the unsuccessful attempt to save the dog.

Bailey and Lambert live in mobile homes in rural Wake County nearZebulon. Lambert has not said anything publicly, but his mother had saidthat a neighbor had earlier complained to Bailey about her eight-month-olddog being allowed to run loose. Bailey has said Lambert never spoke toher about any problem with her dog Tiger.

Bailey says she would like to know how many Wake County residents havebeen charged criminally under the county leash law. "Because I amfighting the system," she said, "I'm being given a hard time. But it'snot going to work."

Marianna Burt, an attorney who has advised Bailey, said she sees thecharge against Bailey as an attempt to appear even-handed, but that in herview the charge against Lambert does not reflect what he allegedly did.

"I think he should also be charged with cruelty to animals," Burt said."What he did is the epitome of cruelty." Cruelty to animals is also acriminal charge.

Sheriff John Baker, after initially saying Lambert's alleged action wasdone off-duty and therefore not a matter for departmental response,suspended Lambert from his job for four days without pay Tuesday.

Lambert's most recent citation is based on a state law prohibitingputting anti-freeze out in an open yard.

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