The woman accused of leaving six dogs to die inside a car in Albuquerque after she was paid to transport them, was questioned by Rio Rancho Police hours later, and she had more dogs with her.
“They’re, like, being suspicious. They look like they’re high. They’re just roaming around,” said the woman who called 911.
Rio Rancho Police were called to a Shell gas station on Sara Road.
“What’s going on?” the officer asked Sara Mauter, as she held an Afghan Hound on a leash.
Mauter replied, “We are waiting for the owners of these animals to come and take over.”
When officers arrived, it was a bizarre scene.
“Do you work here? Or did you call? What’s going on?” the officer asked a store clerk at the gas station who was holding one of the dogs.
There were people scattered about, and two Afghan Hounds.
The officer then asked the store clerk, “Why do you have a dog right now?”
The clerk replied, “He didn’t know what to do so he handed it over to me,” he said, pointing to Mauter’s boyfriend, Shaun O’Donnell.
The couple told the officer they were hired for $120 on Craigslist by a woman named Annette Rosenow, an Estancia breeder, to transport 11 of her dogs to Texas.
The officers had no idea that earlier that day, Mauter was seen on surveillance video abandoning a car with six dogs in Albuquerque. They would all suffocate; meanwhile the couple still had five more in the van that night.
“I just want to hand the dogs over to somebody and be done with this whole situation,” Mauter told the officer.
The officer told Mauter to call the dogs’ owner, and Rosenow asked Mauter what happened to her other dogs.
“Who killed the dogs? Who’s responsible for that?” Rosenow asked over speaker phone.
Mauter replied, “Annette, I don’t know what’s going on right now.
At multiple points throughout the police encounter, officers heard the accusation that against Mauter: that she abandoned the SUV that she was supposed to use to transport the dogs, and that the dogs were dead.
“Honestly, I don’t want them to do that (transport the dogs) anymore because, they abandoned my other car and six dogs are dead, OK?” said the dog breeder over the phone to a Rio Rancho Police Officer.
Officers even discussed contacting APD about the case.
“I guess we should probably try to get ahold of APD,” said one of the Rio Rancho Police officers responding to the encounter.
However, it’s unclear if that ever happened.
The responding officer eventually sent Mauter and O’Donnell on their way, after Mauter promised to get the dogs to Austin, Texas.
“She’s willing to still trust you, and for you to finish the job,” said the officer.
So why would the owner, knowing the couple had already let six of her dogs die, tell police they could still deliver the other five dogs to Texas?
KRQE News 13 spoke with her last week, and she told us she doesn’t trust police and she thinks authorities are always looking to take her dogs away.
The couple ended up dumping those five dogs at an Albuquerque animal clinic the next day.
Sarah Mauter is charged with animal cruelty for the death of the dogs. Her boyfriend hasn’t been charged with anything.