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Women face animal cruelty charges

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Two area women were arrested Sunday after one of the dogs they were transporting in the back of a U–Haul truck had to be euthanized as the result of overheating, police said.

A passerby spotted the U–Haul box truck on Riverside Drive in Fredericksburg and called city police at 4:13 p.m. The caller said there was a dog in the front of the vehicle and something in the back making noise. It was over 80 degrees at the time and the box truck had no ventilation, police said.

The vehicle was gone when city police arrived, but the caller said the truck was heading north on U.S. 1 across the Falmouth Bridge into Stafford County.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bill Kennedy said city police relayed the information and Deputy Karl Warnick spotted the vehicle heading north on Warrenton Road.

Warnick caught up with the truck in the parking lot of a Super 8 motel and saw four dogs in the front of the cab, along with a man and two women.

The two larger dogs were in serious distress and appeared near death, Kennedy said. The smaller dogs appeared fine.

The investigation revealed that the women had brought the dogs with them to Riverside Drive. The smaller dogs had been let out at the popular spot along the Rappahannock. However, the larger dogs had been left in the box truck reportedly because they didn’t have leashes for them, Kennedy said.

The man said he met up with the women at the river and was not aware that dogs were in the back until they started moving. He said he stopped at a gas station to get water for the animals, then placed them in the cab. The man was not charged.

Deputy David Wood immediately took one dog to an emergency animal clinic in Fredericksburg, Kennedy said. The other larger dog was taken to the same clinic by another deputy. It bit Wood when he came out to assist the other deputy. Wood was treated at Mary Washington Hospital.

One of the dogs had to be euthanized, Kennedy said, and the second was turned over to animal control after receiving treatment.

Rhianna Ring, 19, of Fredericksburg and Harllie Syrus, 21, of Stafford were both charged with animal cruelty and confinement of an animal in a vehicle, both misdemeanors.

The cruelty charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine, while the other charge carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine.

Both women were placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under a $1,500 bond.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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