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Bolton woman accused of killing dog at shelter

Toronto police are searching for a Bolton woman accused of bringing her dog into an animal shelter and killing it instead of surrendering it to shelter staff.

The woman allegedly brought a Shar-Pei to Toronto Animal Services at 1300 Sheppard Ave. W. on Aug. 24, 2012.

Det.-Const. Tamara Lawrynowycz said the woman was supposed to be handing over the dog to a new owner and was given a leash and muzzle to get the pet ready.

But police allege she instead hung the dog with the leash while inside the animal shelter’s quarantine room, where Henry, the Shar-Pei, was being held after it allegedly bit someone.

Police believe the woman tied two leashes together and hung the dog off the side of the cage, killing it.

Investigators say she had already fled the scene by the time shelter staff came in and found the pup without vital signs. An autopsy concluded the dog died of suffocation, Const. Tony Vella said.

Rita Rosemary Mueller, 50, is wanted for killing an animal, causing unnecessary pain to an animal and disobeying a court order.

Police believe she may have other animals.

Mueller is white, five feet four inches tall, 115 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She frequents Peel Region and the City of Barrie.

Mueller runs Scooby’s Dog House and Rescue, an animal shelter located at 132 Queen St. in Bolton.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) confirmed that the same woman had 19 dogs removed from her property in Caledon and was forced to surrender 10 more dogs in 2011.

She was convicted in September 2012 of multiple charges under the OSCPA act and will be sentenced in February. She could be fined, prohibited from owning or living with an animal, or jailed.

With files from The Canadian Press