Waco, Tx — A Bellmead man is in jail after police say he trespassed into the Waco animal shelter and stole his dog to avoid paying fines for the animal.
"Don't make a situation worse, which is absolutely what he did," said Waco Police Spokesman W. Patrick Swanton.
27-year-old Michael Fredrich is charged with trespassing and theft, all for refusing to pay a fine he racked up for letting his dog run loose.
"He could have paid his 150 dollar fine and got his dog and been done," said Swanton.
In late March, police say Fredrich went to a restricted area at the Waco animal shelter, kicked in a fence, and stole his terrier-pit bull mixed dog. During the crime, he reportedly used his daughters to distract shelter employees before taking off in his vehicle.
"Just not very smart decisions on his part, so unfortunately he's going to pay a lot more now than if he had done the right thing," said Swanton.
Since the incident, the shelter says the city has made large improvements in security.
"Put up better fencing, better lighting, we have cameras that monitor the premises now," said Swanton.
Officials say dogs and cats on the loose are too common in the city. On average, they say they respond to around 20 of these calls per day.
"The calls are way too many. Our animal control officers run from call to call to call," said Swanton.
"We had 50 animals come in yesterday. And, before we even opened, overnight there was 11 that were put in our side pens," said Don Bland, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Central Texas.
To help stop the overpopulation of animals, authorities urge pet owners to spay and neuter.