Woman pleads not guilty in dog’s death

Ordered to appear in federal court again on Thursday

Melissa Lockhart

A Fruita woman pleaded not guilty Monday to allegations that she obstructed law enforcement’s investigation of a dog’s death on Colorado National Monument.

Melissa Lockhart, 32, who appeared in Grand Junction free on bond, has been ordered to appear Thursday in Denver before U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer.

Lockhart’s brother, Steven Romero, 37, of Grand Junction, also has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial March 22 on a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals. Federal authorities have alleged that Romero on early Dec. 30 tied a dog, “Buddy,” to the back of his pickup truck and dragged it nearly two miles up the west entrance of Colorado National Monument.

Lockhart allegedly stole the dog from a truck in downtown Delta on Dec. 29. An arrest affidavit alleges she told her brother to “get rid” of the animal after it attacked a family cat at her home.


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