A woman accused of abandoning a dog outside an animal shelter in January pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday morning.

Sarah Vye was in court to face an animal cruelty charge. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum jail sentence of 364 days and maximum fine of $2,000.

Security video from January outside the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston shows a driver of a minivan leaving a dog in the parking lot. The dog was struck by a car and killed on Jan. 28, three days after it was abandoned.

The video, which got over a million views on social media, sparked widespread condemnation against the driver. The Lewiston Police Department filed the criminal complaint against Vye in February in Androscoggin District Court.

Vye has requested a court-appointed attorney.

Vye said the dog, named Abby, had belonged to her ex-boyfriend’s ex-wife, and that the night she left it outside the humane society it had nipped at Vye’s 2-month-old baby.

The dog, which the shelter said was a Labrador retriever-husky mix with blond fur, was aggressive from the start, she said.

Vye said she asked the original owner if she could take the dog to a shelter or have it euthanized, but the owner said no. She said she then contacted Auburn police about taking the dog to the shelter, but was told she couldn’t because she wasn’t its owner, although Auburn police have disputed that.

According to the police, an officer responded to a reported dog bite, but was told the child who was reportedly bitten wasn’t present, and that the bite had occurred two days earlier. Police determined there was no reason to quarantine the dog to check for rabies, nor did they have a legal reason to take the dog.

Vye’s next scheduled court date is Aug. 15.

Reached by phone, her father, Ron Vye, said that neither of them had any comment.


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