A Portland judge has sentenced Shellie Hubbard, 46, for the death of her boyfriend's dog, which she threw into oncoming traffic on December 22, 2011. She will spend 7 months in jail and is barred from owning any pet for five years.
Hubbard, 46, was arguing with her boyfriend in a car while he was driving on Interstate 205 in Portland, Oregon, around 7 p.m. that evening. As their car approached Padden Parkway, Hubbard hit Darwin Vonschirmer, 45, with a broken coffee mug, slicing his hand open, Washington State Patrol Trooper Ryan Tanner told the Columbian.
But the 46-year-old woman--upset that the couple was breaking up--did not stop with just injuring Vonschirmer. She then maliciously threw his beloved Catahoula Leopard Hound, Peanut Butter, into oncoming traffic.
Darwin Vonschirmer had reportedly pulled the car over to the shoulder as the argument became more heated, and Hubbard angrily let Peanut Butter out of the car onto the busy freeway. When Vonschirmer tried to scoop up the dog, Hubbard grabbed Peanut Butter and threw the pet directly into traffic.
Peanut Butter attempted to get back to his owner at the freeway’s shoulder but was struck by a car and died on the road.
This is a really sad case,” Officer Tanner said. “We obviously try to defuse these situations. But the dog was hit before we got there.”
After the crime, Hubbard ran from the scene, officers reported. With the help of Clark County sheriff’s deputies, state troopers said they apprehended her two hours later near Fourth Plain Boulevard. She was allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine and a glass smoking pipe.
On August 30, 2012, Hubbard pleaded guilty to first-degree animal cruelty, third-degree assault and possession of methamphetamine.
On September 7, Clark County Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson sentenced Shellie Hubbard to seven months in jail and barred her from owning pets for five years.
Judge Johnson also noted the seriousness of Hubbard’s actions: “It endangered other people, the victim, and then obviously the throwing of the dog in traffic” caused an animal’s death,” she said. “It is a substantial sentence within our sentencing ranges.”
Hubbard did not speak at the hearing, according to reports; but her defense attorney Jeff Sowder said his client wanted it known that she loved Peanut Butter. She even retrieved the dog’s body from the freeway 10 days after she was released from jail and buried the dog herself, he said.
The maximum sentence for first-degree animal cruelty in Oregon is one year in jail. Both the prosecutor and the defense recommended a seven-month sentence, with credit for 52 days served. The judge also ordered a substance abuse evaluation because one of Hubbard’s crimes is drug-related.
Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Nisle read a statement written by Darwin Vonschirmer, who was not present at the hearing. He said he was still grieving for his dog but has forgiven Hubbard. “I have forgiven her. I no longer feel threatened by her,” he wrote.
Ironically, on December 23, 2011, Vonschirmer told KATU-TV that he rescued the Catahoula leopard hound, Peanut Butter, about a year earlier from the side of the freeway.