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March 26, 2019

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Ex-animal control chief gets jail, probation for dog death

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 | 3:41 p.m.

A former Nevada municipal animal control supervisor was handcuffed Tuesday and taken to jail for 90 days, as part of her sentence in a case that alleged she illegally killed dogs at the shelter she ran.

Mary Jo Frazier apologized before Clark County District Court Judge Susan Johnson sentenced her to four years of probation for pleading guilty in October to one felony animal cruelty charge.

"You were in a position of trust," the judge said.

The plea by the 62-year-old former Boulder City Animal Shelter chief avoided trial on two felony cruelty charges. It acknowledged only that she improperly euthanized her own dog, an 8-year-old Dachshund named Oscar, rather than give the animal to a shelter or to her husband during a bitter divorce.

"I chose the wrong option," Frazier said after describing the dog as incontinent, "untrainable" and aggressive toward others.

"I thought it would be easier to put him down rather than take him to a stranger," she said.

The case erupted into a small town scandal in the quiet suburban city near Hoover Dam, where Frazier retired and moved away and a police chief was ousted in January 2016 for his decision to close the investigation — despite finding that more than 90 animals had been improperly put to death.

The former police chief, Bill Conger, later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to perform a duty and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine.

Frazier moved to Grants Pass, Oregon, where she has since remarried. She was addressed in court by her married last name, Norby.

Her attorneys, Michael Becker and Adam Solinger, said outside court they hadn't expected a jail term as part of their client's probation.

Solinger said he believed the judge responded to community pressure in a case that drew intense interest among animal rights activists.

Frazier also was ordered to have no contact with animals, not to use alcohol or marijuana, and to attend counseling classes on substance abuse and animal cruelty.

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