Magnolia woman ticketed for dog that doesn't belong to her

MAGNOLIA, TX (KTRK) -- A Magnolia woman who sheltered a lost dog said she received a citation for a stray animal and now must go to court.

Heidi Nicholson said she found the little dog wandering the streets near her home in Montgomery County. Nicholson told ABC13 she allowed the dog on her property and fed it for just four days.

"When I fed my dogs, it would go get the crumbs," said Nicholson. "I wasn't going to let the dog starve. That's not humane. I was looking for the owner, trying to find the owner."

Last Wednesday, animal control officers showed up to her house, Nicholson said. They issued her a citation for failing to confine the dog and failing to show proof of rabies vaccination. The potential penalties range between $180 to $500.

"I feel like doing good in Montgomery County has come back to bite me," said Nicholson.

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She insisted the dog does not belong to her. Nicholson even showed Eyewitness News a text exchange between her a woman named Veronica. In the messages, Veronica claimed the dog was her missing animal named Buttons. Nicolson said she met Veronica on Friday and reunited Buttons with her.

ABC13 reached out to Montgomery County Animal Control. Director Joseph Guidry looked into the case, saying a neighbor first complained about the animal. The neighbor called animal control and gave a statement saying the dog belonged to Nicholson.

"It wasn't during a random patrol or anything. We actually had a call to respond out to her house," said Guidry. "On the citation, it states even though you sign it, it's not a plea of guilty. You have the right to go and contest it."

Guidry said under county law if a person takes in a stray animal for more than seven days, the animal becomes the person's property. They are then responsible for the animal.

Nicholson said she watched over the dog for just four days. She'll have the chance to tell her side of the story when she faces a judge next month.
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