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Kilgore woman thwarts would-be dog thief

By Melissa Greene mgreene@news-journal.com
July 12, 2013 at 11 p.m.

KILGORE - When Candace Montgomery answered her front door early Thursday, it didn't take her long to recognize something wasn't right.

Montgomery thwarted a third attempt this week to steal a pet - in this case a Boston Terrier named Buddy - by suspects impersonating animal control officers or humane society workers.

Montgomery, 57, said a bald, clean-shaven man knocked on the door of her home in the 800 block of Bean Street and said he had a warrant to seize her dog for noise violations.

He appeared professional, she said, dressed in green khaki pants and a green shirt that resembled a uniform. But the clothes bore no emblems, and he had no identification.

"I asked if I could see the warrant and his identification, and he told me it was in his truck," she said, adding that a white pickup was parked on the street in such a way that she couldn't see the license plate.

When the man did not produce the requested documents, Montgomery told him to get off of her property. She called Kilgore police.

"I'm disabled. Buddy is my comfort. He knows when I'm sick. He lays up next to me and takes care of me. I can't imagine someone would take my baby," she said.

By law, pets in Texas are considered property, so anyone taking one could face charges of theft and, in this case, impersonating a civil servant, a third-degree felony, according to Longview police spokeswoman Kristie Brian.

"I have seen animal control and I know their trucks are marked, and they have plastic cages. What this guy had were metal cages," she said, remembering again the pickup was parked in the road rather than her driveway.

Montgomery said police officers investigating the incident mentioned similar cases the past week in Longview.

Scott Holloway, director of the Humane Society of Northeast Texas, said Wednesday the agency had received two reports this past week of animals taken from residents by men posing as humane society foster unit or animal control officers.

B.J. Owen, director of special services in Kilgore, oversees the city's animal control department.

He said Friday that Kilgore animal control officers will always have identification and be in clearly marked city vehicles.

"We can't take (a pet) without a court order, or unless it's at-large and we have to take it," Owen said Friday. "Even if it was barking, we would not come up and say we're taking your animal. It would be like saying we are taking your car because it's purple. It's illegal for us to do that."

The suspects' purpose in taking the animals is unknown.

"That's the sad part. All I can think is that whoever is doing this isn't doing it to be beneficial to the animal," Montgomery said. "If you have a fur baby, you understand."



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