An off-duty animal control officer who admitted to shooting and killing her neighbors’ dog at her Picture Rocks home in October has been charged with a felony.
Marilyn Hendrickson, 27, was arraigned in Pima County Superior Court on Wednesday after she was indicted earlier this month on one count of killing a domestic animal without consent, a fifth-degree felony. A judge entered a plea of not guilty on Hendrickson’s behalf.
The Arizona Daily Star reported in early November that Hendrickson, an animal control officer for Marana, trapped and killed the dog, Buddy, days earlier after a monthslong dispute involving her neighbors, Tiffany and Justin Bara, and her former employer, the Pima Animal Care Center.
A criminal case was investigated by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
Hendrickson told the Star that she carried out her actions out of desperation after months of what she perceived as inaction by PACC officers.
Records show she called PACC at least five times after more than a dozen of her chickens were killed and her goats were attacked — and blamed her neighbors. She told the Star she installed surveillance cameras and caught a dog on video attacking her goats.
Records obtained by the Star show Hendrickson admitted to authorities that she took the trap from her job in Marana. Following the killing, Hendrickson was placed on leave pending an investigation by Marana Animal Services.
A Marana spokeswoman told the Star in December that Hendrickson was no longer employed by the town.
Both Hendrickson and the Baras said they discussed the incident, but talks about replacing the chickens fell through. Tiffany Bara acknowledged her three dogs would escape from the yard, despite efforts to patch their fence, pack holes they dug and block the fencing with a kennel. Court records show the Baras were also charged with multiple counts of violating leash laws, dogs chasing livestock and for the dogs biting animals.
After the incident, Kristen Hassen, PACC director of animal services, stressed her officers always responded and did everything they could when Hendrickson called and that they would have done so again if Hendrickson had kept Buddy in the trap. She called the incident tragic and avoidable.
Hendrickson was booked into the Pima County jail on Wednesday. She is scheduled to appear in court next on March 16.
Contact reporter Justin Sayers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4192. Twitter: @_JustinSayers. Facebook: JustinSSayers.