courtesy Vermont State Police

Jun 18, 2016 2:24 PM

Dartmouth student accused of stealing pup from animal shelter

HANOVER - A Dartmouth College student faces charges after police say she snatched a dog from a Vermont animal shelter after using the excuse of needing to use the bathroom.

According to the Valley News, Melanie Vangel, 20, of Camden, Maine, allegedly entered the Rutland County Humane Society with a group of people who asked to use the bathroom on Thursday.

They were admitted into a hallway that is typically off-limits to the public but provides access the bathroom and to one of the kennels, according to the humane society's Executive Director Gretchen Goodman.

The visitors then apparently took a 1-year-old mixed terrier called Fred and ran back to the car before anyone could stop them.

Staff at the humane society described the group as unkempt and looking like they'd come off the Appalachian Trail. Vermont State Police Sgt. Henry Alberico suspected they might be on their way to Mount Tabor, near Danby, Vt. for the annual Rainbow Family festival.

Sure enough, police were able to track the suspects to a campsite, where they rescued Fred and arrested Vangel.

Alberico said Vangel told him she wanted a dog but knew she wouldn’t meet the requirements to adopt one.

Fred was returned to the shelter unharmed but was a “tired puppy and very hungry,” Goodman said.

“That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen a dog run into its kennel,” she said.

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