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Woman charged with animal cruelty

A Clanton woman will be charged with animal cruelty after allegedly attempting to kill a neighbor’s dog.

Stephanie Wells, 27, turned herself in to authorities late last week after a neighbor, Robbi McMinn signed a warrant for Wells’ arrest.

The incident occurred on June 21. A third neighbor gave police a statement saying he saw Wells cutting the dog’s throat with a knife near Wells’ home.

McMinn said the animal, a female Great Pyrenees, had, in the past, been friendly with Wells, who McMinn’s husband has known for several years.

“Ever since we got Taylor, Stephanie would call her up on the porch—pet her, give her food,” McMinn said.

Chilton County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jamie Johnson said no motive has been determined.

Johnson said he was told by Wells’ husband that the suspect admitted to the crime before checking herself into the psychiatric unit at Brookwood Hospital.

Upon leaving the hospital, Wells turned herself in and immediately posted bond.

Johnson investigated the crime and said he found blood outside Wells’ home, a bloody knife with white dog hair in the kitchen sink and a bloody belt outside the residence.

It wasn’t clear late Monday whether the charge against Wells would be a misdemeanor or a felony. Chilton County Humane Society Director Joe Murphy lobbied the district attorney’s office for the latter.

“It’s a heinous crime,” Murphy said. “This stuff does go on; we don’t want it to go on in Chilton County.”

The dog was found hours after the incident and was treated at Pet Haven Veterinary Clinic. She is expected to recover, said McMinn, who has to nurse the wound.

“It’s very difficult because she won’t let anybody near her because she’s scared to death,” McMinn said.