Ex-Mayor Settles Criminal Case Over Dog Theft

A small-town mayor who lost her job after taking her neighbors' dog has settled her criminal case.

Grace Saenz-Lopez pleaded no contest Tuesday to filing a false police report. Under terms of the deal, the former mayor of Alice, in south Texas, will pay a $300 fine and serve 48 hours of community service and two years of probation.

The charge was a byproduct of a custody dispute with Saenz-Lopez's neighbors over custody of the neighbors' dog.

Saenz-Lopez had claimed Puddles died last summer while she was pet-sitting for the neighbors. Three months later, however, a relative of the neighbors saw the dog, renamed Panchito, at a grooming business where the mayor had stashed him.

Saenz-Lopez insisted that Rudy Gutierrez and Shelly Cavazos had neglected the animal, but state District Judge Richard Terrell ordered her in April to return the dog.