Woman pleads not guilty in ‘Buddy’ theft

A woman accused of stealing a dog that was allegedly killed by her brother on Colorado National Monument pleaded not guilty this afternoon.

Melissa Lockhart, 32, who is charged with felony theft, entered the plea in Delta County Combined Courts this afternoon, according to court records.

Lockhart is scheduled for a jury trial on Aug. 16.

The Fruita resident is charged separately by federal authorities with allegedly misleading investigators in the case of Buddy, the dog that was allegedly tied to the back of a pickup truck by 38-year-old Steve Romero and dragged to its death on Dec. 30.

An arrest affidavit alleges that Lockhart told her brother to get rid of the dog after it had attacked a family cat. Authorities allege she stole the dog from a pickup truck in downtown Delta on Dec. 29.

Romero, who had pleaded not guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals, is expected enter a guilty plea April 29 in Denver.

Romero faces a maximum of three years in federal prison and $100,000 fine.


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