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    Report: Former owner of dog found with bullet wound in head, taped muzzle had history of abusing the animal

    2024-04-17

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    The Castle Rock woman facing animal cruelty charges for allegedly shooting a dog in the head and taping its snout shut has a pattern of hurting the pet, according to court records.

    Jessica Rosita Schmidt , 33, is accused of abusing her former dog Baylor at least six months prior to the injured dog being found in November by Cowlitz County Public Utility District workers in a Toutle ditch. One of those employees adopted the white English retriever, renamed Trooper as a testament to his recovery .

    Schmidt is out on a $5,000 bond and told The Daily News she did not commit any crime and there is no evidence to prove otherwise.

    She has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree animal cruelty and one count each of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant and driving with a suspended or revoked license. Schmidt’s next hearing is set for next week.

    A previous warning

    Court documents show the abuse started months before the dog was found cold and dirty on the side of the road on the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway.

    In May, Animal Control issued a warning to Schmidt for taping the dog’s snout shut, according to a police report.

    Two witnesses told Cowlitz County deputies they saw Schmidt hurt the animal, and one said she was trying to get rid of the dog before the PUD workers found him, the report says.

    Schmidt reportedly denied owning the dog when approached by authorities. But after receiving a search warrant, deputies reported finding photos of a dog resembling Baylor inside Schmidt’s home, as well as a vaccine collar issued to a dog named Baylor with Schmidt as the owner and a height chart for Baylor and one of Schmidt’s other dogs.

    They also report finding high-powered air guns, one of which had a spent round. Deputies say the weapon could have caused the dog’s head wound, in which a bullet fragmented and left metal pieces inside his head.

    Another search warrant for her phone revealed videos of Schmidt and the dog, including one where the pet is seen inside a kennel, visibly shaking, drenched, and with his muzzle taped shut, the report states.

    Detectives also say they found Schmidt searched “punishment for animal cruelty” on Google days after the dog was found in Toutle and news had spread of the abuse.

    Authorities report they obtained messages from an app that enables Bluetooth connectivity with her vehicle, indicating she had been away from home for about an hour and 30 minutes the evening of Oct. 30, which detectives say gave her enough time to drive to the location where PUD workers found the dog and back home. Deputies report this indicates the dog was left injured with his snout taped for two days, until he was discovered Nov. 2.

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