Woman pleads guilty to leaving six dogs to die in hot car

Crime

A woman who admitted to leaving six dogs in a car to die won’t get any jail time for it.

The District Attorney’s office said prosecutors couldn’t prove Sara Mauter killed them on purpose back in April, so they cut her a plea deal.

At her plea hearing on Friday, Mauter called herself an animal lover as she blamed the drugs for what she did.

“From the bottom of my heart, I want to apologize for the ill fate of the dogs I had in my care,” she told District Court Judge Stan Whitaker.

That was minutes before she pled guilty to abandoning and killing six dogs she was paid to transport from Albuquerque to Texas.

It was in April that surveillance showed her walking away from an SUV loaded with dogs, parked outside an Albuquerque nursery.

About five hours later, police found Mauter and her boyfriend in Rio Rancho as she tried to explain what happened to the dogs’ owner on the phone.

On Friday, she told Judge Whitaker the incident never would have happened had she not been high.

“I would never try to hurt an animal. I’m an animal lover myself,” Mauter said.

The self-described animal lover’s six felony extreme cruelty charges were reduced in her plea agreement to misdemeanors.

That’s because New Mexico law states felony extreme cruelty to animals consists of a person intentionally or maliciously killing an animal.

The state said it couldn’t prove intent if the case went to trial because the District Attorney’s office couldn’t track down a few key witnesses, and because Mauter left the car parked in a busy area with the hazard lights on.

“These facts indicate that Ms. Mauter’s intentions were for the vehicle to be noticed by bystanders,” the prosecutor said in court.

Mauter will face 18 months probation for misdemeanor animal abuse, which covers the negligent killing of an animal.

Judge Whitaker warned Mauter to be on her best behavior and to get a job.

“You’ll be required to get and maintain employment,” Whitaker said.

Mauter is also required to complete an outpatient program for drug addiction. If she doesn’t stay sober, she’ll serve whatever’s left of her 18-months probation in jail.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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