Criminal Charge Filed in Dog Poisoning
Posted November 14, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — Wake County Attorney Colon Willoughby has decided to enter a misdemeanor criminal charge against Deputy Sheriff Richard Lambert. Lambert is accused of fatally poisoning a neighbor's dog with anti-freeze-laced hamburger meat that he set out by his garbage pails. 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 the public about the matter. Initially, the investigating animal control officer had filed only a civil complaint against Lambert, which carries a maximum $100 fine.
Lambert had also volunteered to pay Bailey's veterinarian bills, which amount to $1000, for the unsuccessful attempt to save the dog.
Bailey and Lambert live in mobile homes in rural Wake County near Zebulon. Lambert has not said anything publicly, but his mother had said that a neighbor had earlier complained to Bailey about her eight-month-old dog being allowed to run loose. Bailey has said Lambert never spoke to her about any problem with her dog Tiger.
Bailey says she would like to know how many Wake County residents have been charged criminally under the county leash law. "Because I am fighting the system," she said, "I'm being given a hard time. But it's not going to work."
Marianna Burt, an attorney who has advised Bailey, said she sees the charge against Bailey as an attempt to appear even-handed, but that in her view 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 a criminal charge.
Sheriff John Baker, after initially saying Lambert's alleged action was done 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 prohibiting putting anti-freeze out in an open yard.