By Times staff reports
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 18, 2001
Woman charged in Dec. 29 death of neighbor's dog
CLEARWATER -- A woman was charged Wednesday with stealing an elderly woman's dog, which then died in her living room of mysterious head injuries.
Katherine M. Donahue, 50, was charged with grand theft and animal cruelty. She was arrested based on a capias, which is like a warrant, signed by State Attorney's Office prosecutors.
The incident occurred Dec. 29 when deputies were summoned to a home in the 6700 block of 298th Avenue N near Clearwater. A woman had called authorities, saying her neighbor, Donahue, had called about a dead dog.
A deputy came to Donahue's home and found the dog dead in the living room. It was on its side with a pool of blood by its mouth.
Deputies were told Donahue allegedly took the dog from the yard of 72-year-old Elizabeth Rieve, 29759 57th St. N, arrest reports state.
Rieve told deputies she had put the dog outside for a short time that night, then found it missing. She searched the neighborhood for an hour, but could not find it.
Donahue told deputies she took the dog because she is an animal lover, and the dog was in the cold and was barking, reports state.
After finding out her dog was dead, Rieve took the animal to a veterinarian, who told deputies the dog's injuries were the type caused when an animal is hit by a car or struck on the skull with a blunt instrument. The injuries caused bleeding from the nostrils, ears and eyes, the doctor told deputies.
Man charged with trying to steal from sheriff
LARGO -- A man suspected of running a forgery scam earlier this year is accused of trying to steal from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Robert Ray Rhyne, 46, of Indian Rocks Beach was arrested Wednesday on a charge of uttering a forged instrument. Rhyne is accused of using a counterfeit check to try to draw money from a dry commissary account that the Sheriff's Office held for him when he was in jail in October.
When Rhyne was released from jail, the Sheriff's Office, which runs the jail, sent him a check for money that had remained in his commissary account. That account allows inmates to buy things like toothpaste and candy bars, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Greg Tita said.
Rhyne then used that account number on a counterfeit check that he wrote for $385, trying to withdraw money from the Sheriff's Office's inmate trust account, which is run by Bank of America, Tita said.
But sheriff's officials soon learned of the forgery.
"If someone wants to take the chance of using a Sheriff's Office jail account to run a scheme, they have a real good chance of getting caught," Tita said.
Boys burned in fire will be asked to attend program
LARGO -- Fire officials plan to recommend that two young brothers burned by a grill fire Wednesday attend a fire-prevention course once their wounds have healed.
Shaqwan Thomas, 6, and his brother, Timmy Thomas, 10, were burned while they played with lighter fluid and a grill in the back yard of their home, 10301 123rd Ave. N. Shaqwan was taken by helicopter to the burn unit at Tampa General Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition on Thursday. He suffered first- and second-degree burns over 25 percent to 30 percent of his body, fire officials said.
Timmy Thomas wasn't as seriously injured and was taken to Largo Medical Center, where he was treated in the emergency room, but not admitted.
Officials with the Largo Fire Department plan to recommend that the boys attend a Juvenile Fire Setters program, in which they will learn the dangers of fire. Their mother, Jessica Harris, also will be asked to attend with her sons, fire officials said.
The boys apparently had finished dinner and were getting ready to roast marshmallows in the grill. They poured lighter fluid on the grill, which created a lot of vapors. They lit the grill and the vapors caught fire, heating the air at least several hundred degrees, said fire inspector Keith Murray.
Murray said a boy in a tree house about 20 feet away felt the heat. He said it's important to remember to keep children closely supervised any time they are near fire or grills.
"They got a little carried away with the lighter fluid, and it flashed on them," he said.
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