East Fork Justice Jim EnEarl set a Feb. 13 hearing for a Gardnerville woman accused of abandoning her dog to die on Pinenut Road.
Sabrina Lohr, 40, appearing in court Monday, told EnEarl she was planning to hire Minden lawyer Tod Young to represent her on three misdemeanor charges in connection with the death of Rocket, a Great Dane mix.
She is charged with abandoning an animal, cruelty to animals and dog at large.
According to the complaint, Lohr showed up at the Douglas County Animal Shelter with Rocket on Nov. 14, and reportedly said she would dump the dog if the shelter didn't take him. She said she was leaving for two weeks in Spain.
The shelter, which was undergoing renovation at the time, advised Lohr there was no room for the dog, and told her it was against the law to abandon the pet.
According to the complaint, Lohr turned Rocket loose on Pinenut Road where he wandered frightened for 10 days until he was hit by a car and killed the day after Thanksgiving.
Shelter workers tried in vain to win Rocket's trust by leaving food and water.
About two dozen people showed up Monday for the court proceeding, prompting EnEarl to warn the audience against any outbursts.
"This case can bring a lot of emotion," EnEarl said.
He threatened offenders with contempt of court which could lead to jail.
"I understand your feelings, but I won't permit any expressions," he said.
The audience sat quietly for the brief proceeding.
Lohr said she understood the charges against her and promised to return Feb. 13 for another hearing.
After the hearing, two handmade signs were found in the women's restroom across from the courtroom. One read, "Deliberate Actions Equals Consequences," and the other, "Jail Time for Lohr."
The maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and six months in Douglas County Jail on each charge if convicted.