A former Rhode Island town official has been charged with stealing a pit bull from a panhandler.
WJAR-TV reports former Jamestown Councilwoman Barbara Szepatowski appeared in a Newport court Tuesday on a misdemeanor charge of stealing a domestic animal. Her attorney, Guy Settipane, entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf. She was released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.
Newport police say two panhandlers had brought the pit bull to an area in the city while they begged for money last week. Officers say Szepatowski drove by the panhandlers, told them to put the dog in her car and drove off.
Settipane says Szepatowski knew the dog she's accused of stealing and had a shared-custody arrangement with a city panhandler who couldn't care for the animal on her own.