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2 Arrested for Facebook Pic of Puppy in Ziploc Bag

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on November 18, 2013 3:18 PM

A New Mexico mother and son have been arrested for placing an 8-week-old puppy in an open plastic bag -- a picture of which was posted on Facebook.

Mary Snell, 44, of Albuquerque, and her son James, 21, were arrested Saturday, after the pic showed up on James' Facebook page and someone shared it with authorities. Investigators say the puppy could have suffocated, Albuquerque's KOAT-TV reports.

The pair are now facing felony animal cruelty charges.

Animal Cruelty in New Mexico

Animal cruelty laws vary widely by state. New Mexico is among the states with the weakest animal cruelty laws, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Just last year, New Mexico's Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners dropped the county's local animal cruelty law.

Fortunately for this puppy, the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office took it upon itself to protect the furry friend and arrest the pet owners for felony animal cruelty.

A person commits felony animal cruelty in New Mexico when he or she either:

  • Intentionally or maliciously tortures, mutilates, injures or poisons an animal; or
  • Maliciously kills an animal.

In this case, Snell and her son "got a new puppy and were trying to show how small the dog was in comparison to a Ziploc bag. The dog was moving around and to restrict its movement, Ms. Snell thought that it would be a good idea to put the dog in the bag," Sgt. Aaron Williamson told KOAT-TV.

If you think a puppy in a Ziploc bag is akin to a puppy in a basket, think again. Even in an open plastic bag, "[a] young puppy doesn't have the ability to move its head to a fresh supply of oxygen," Williamson explained.

Another Day, Another Puppy

Even if Snell and her son are convicted of animal cruelty, they could become pet owners again. In New Mexico, there are no restrictions on future ownership or possession of animals -- even if someone is convicted of an animal abuse charge, according to a report by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Here's hoping the mother and son have learned their lesson. If not, and if they're convicted, maybe the potential 18 months in the "dog house" will help.

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