Suspect in puppy drowning arrested

A woman suspected of drowning a 6-month-old pit bull puppy in the Chetco River earlier this month because she was mad at the puppy's owner was arrested in west Medford Thursday.

Medford police arrested Rachel Wilson-McCollough, 39, on a charge of aggravated first-degree animal abuse after getting a tip from the Curry County Sheriff's Department, which had been investigating the reported drowning for about a week and a half.

The sheriff's department got a report of the drowning Aug. 9. Witnesses said Wilson-McCullough had gone to the Chetco River with another woman, that woman's daughter and their puppy. She became angry at them and took the pup, diving into the river near Elephant Rock with it. She held it under the water, then pinned its body underwater with rocks, witnesses told investigators.

Curry County investigators said Wilson-McCullough doesn't have a permanent address, but last lived on North Bank Chetco River Road in Brookings. She comes to Jackson County regularly, and Curry County authorities got a tip Thursday that she was staying at a duplex on Prune Street. They contacted Medford police and an officer went to interview the residents, Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said.

Although Wilson-McCullough initially gave a false name and tried to run away, she ultimately stopped and admitted that she was wanted in Curry County on an animal abuse charge. She was arrested at about 5 p.m., Doney said.

She was taken to the Jackson County Jail, then transported by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department halfway to Gold Beach, where Curry County deputies could take her into custody.

She was transported to Gold Beach and lodged in the Curry County Jail, where she remained today.

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