An Indiana woman has been charged in relation to a dog attack that left two people injured last week.
Braquelle Lynn Rutherford, 22, stands accused of one count each of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, domestic battery, and battery over the incident just outside her home in Muncie last Friday, according to Delaware County Court Records.
Dispatchers received a 911 call about a domestic incident on May 25. An Eaton Police Department officer and two Delaware County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived on the scene and interviewed two victims — including Rutherford’s mother — suffering from dog bites, an affidavit of probable cause obtained by Law&Crime alleges.
Both were “separated and in their own vehicles waiting for medical assistance” when law enforcement arrived, the document says.
The defendant’s mother, Denise Rutherford, was “covered in blood” and had “heavy bleeding from her head,” according to the affidavit. She also “had blood on her thigh and hand from the dog bites.”
The second victim, Meghan Freytag, “had a hoodie on but complained of arm pain,” according to the affidavit. A sheriff’s deputy wrote that Freytag “had a laceration on her elbow and scratches on her arm.”
Both women were taken to a nearby hospital.
Braquelle Rutherford allegedly failed to train away the rescue dog’s behavior and referred to the animal as “very aggressive” and said it needed to be killed, the affidavit says. She added that “the rescue center keeps putting off coming to recover the dog.”
There are, however, various versions of the story of the attack contained in the affidavit – including from a witness to the incident who also traveled to the house in Muncie that day but who was not bit.
The witness, Raven Stovall, told law enforcement that the defendant’s mother and Freytag had come over in an effort to get the younger Rutherford “to go to rehab” and an argument ensued, the affidavit says, resulting in the defendant locking herself in the bathroom.
Stovall then left the house to call the defendant’s ex-girlfriend, followed by the two victims, who she said, had opted to wait for the defendant’s father to arrive when “all of a sudden Braquelle and the dog bust of [sic] the front door and Braquelle was yelling at Denise and Meghan to get to the car,” according to the affidavit.
In an initial interview with law enforcement, the younger Rutherford allegedly said that as the two victims were leaving “she let the dog out of the cage to prevent them from coming back into her home and the dog busted out the door and attacked them but she didn’t let the dog out with intentions to harm anyone.”
During a second interview, Braquelle Rutherford again said she did not intentionally “let the dog out” and said that she had already told her mother not to show up at the house “without notice” due to the dog’s aggressive behavior. The defendant allegedly went on to say that she told her mother and Freytag to get out of the house so she could let the dog out “because she just got home” and that the dog “somehow got loose and went for” Freytag, the affidavit says.
Both victims were interviewed as well.
Denise Rutherford said that her daughter “was trying to walk the dog” and that she – Denise Rutherford – told Freytag “to go to her car because the dog was mean and the dog got free and attacked” Freytag. The elder Rutherford tried to help the first woman when the dog attacked her, too, the defendant’s mother said.
Freytag, on the other hand, said that Rutherford warned them both that the dog would “maul” them if they didn’t leave. Freytag also said that as Braquelle Rutherford left the house, she had the dog by the collar and then let it go – musing that the defendant was “on drugs and not in her right state of mind.” According to the DCSO, Freytag’s version of events then formed the basis for charges.
The deputy wrote that he turned his body-worn camera off after deciding to press charges and was “flagged down” by Braquelle Rutherford’s father. Informing him and his ex-wife of Freytag’s version of events, specifically regarding the mauling comment, the defendant’s mother allegedly said something to the effect of: “thinking back it sounds correct,” the affidavit says.
In a follow-up interview, Braquelle Rutherford was allegedly read her Miranda rights and then asked to go back over what happened, the affidavit says. She allegedly said she was trying to let her dog out to use the bathroom when it got off the leash and attacked Freytag. But, according to the sheriff’s deputy, the defendant “kept leaving out the fact that Denise, Raven and Meghan showed up to try and get her to go to rehab and that an argument to [sic] place regarding rehab.”
When asked about the alleged mauling threat, Braquelle Rutherford said “she was just talking s— and that she wouldn’t have done it,” the affidavit says. When asked why she didn’t wait until everyone left to let her dog out, she allegedly said “she should have waited.”
She is currently being detained in the Delaware County Jail on $15,000 bond, records show.
The defendant, before she was arrested, helped animal control load the dog into a truck.
A deputy mused that the “dog did appear aggressive” and wrote that he was unable to take pictures of the dog “due to its aggressive behavior but it was recorded by my body worn camera.”
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