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Woman cleared of dog theft, found guilty of obstruction

Judy Camp sits with her blue heeler.
Judy Camp sits with her blue heeler.

Judy Camp is no dog thief.

But jurors said she went too far when she tried to give an Okanogan County sheriff’s deputy the slip as he investigated a stolen pet complaint.

Camp’s conviction for obstructing justice could land her in jail for up to a year with a $5,000 fine, even though she is heralded by many as a rescuer – a woman with the gumption to unclip a partially blind junkyard dog from a 4-foot chain in frigid December temperatures outside Twisp and care for him.

Camp said Thursday she had been convicted after what she calls  the rescue of a blue heeler (also called an Australian cattle dog) she has since adopted and named Tank. A jury threw out charges of pet theft and lying to police.

A judge will sentence her next month on the misdemeanor conviction.

Camp took the dog from the property on a Saturday. When she brought Tank to a veterinarian Monday morning, a sheriff’s deputy arrived and asked her if the dog belonged to her. She said yes, and the deputy told her the dog had been stolen. While he obtained the medical records for the dog, which he planned to return to the owners, Camp took Tank through a side door and attempted to put him in her car.

A scuffle between Camp and the deputy ensued.

The obstruction charge was filed for her behavior when the deputy attempted to take the dog from her.

Camp later paid $500 to the owners for Tank, and the dog now lives with her and her two other dogs.