Woman pleads not guilty in death of dog on freeway

She allegedly threw it into traffic on I-205 during breakup

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: January 4, 2012, 5:34 PM

 

A woman accused of throwing her boyfriend’s dog into freeway traffic during a breakup pleaded not guilty Wednesday to first-degree animal cruelty.

Shellie L. Hubbard of Portland appeared in Clark County Superior Court for arraignment. Through her attorney, she also entered not guilty pleas to charges of second-degree assault domestic violence, unlawful use of drug paraphernalia and making a false statement to a public servant.

Judge Scott Collier set trial for March 19.

The charges relate to an incident on the evening of Dec. 22 in which Hubbard, 45, is accused of tossing the Catahoula leopard hound named Peanut Butter into traffic on Interstate 205 near Padden Parkway. The dog was hit by a car and killed.

Wednesday morning, the judge also heard a request by the defense for Hubbard to be on supervised release from jail.

“She’s a release candidate. She has no prior” felonies on her record, defense attorney Jeff Sowder said.

Deputy Prosecutor Julie Carmena pointed out a misdemeanor conviction from 1984 and said she also had concerns because Hubbard was wearing what officers call a “suicide smock,” a garment made of tear-resistant fabric that is meant to prevent an inmate from ripping up clothing to fashion a noose.

After reading a report by a pre-trial release officer, Collier granted supervised release. The prosecutor then asked that Hubbard have no contact with animals.

“I thought I was innocent until proven guilty,” Hubbard interjected.

Collier granted the request, but clarified that it meant Hubbard cannot have animals at home since outside her residence “there’s animals everywhere.” Hubbard said she has no pets.

State troopers said Hubbard got into an argument with her boyfriend, Darwin Vonschirmer, 45, while Vonschirmer was driving south on I-205. As their car approached Padden Parkway, Hubbard allegedly struck him with a broken coffee mug, slicing his hand. Hubbard’s attorney said Vonschirmer had been breaking up with Hubbard.

Troopers said Vonschirmer pulled the car over to the shoulder. As they continued arguing, Hubbard let the dog out of the car. When Vonschirmer tried to scoop up the dog, she allegedly threw the animal into traffic.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.