Illinois Professor Charged After Falsely Claiming In Class That She Found A Puppy On the Roadside In Sealed Pillowcase

woodstock-dog-jpg-20160429Hope Sanchez, 38, (right below), an adjunct psychology professor at McHenry County College, is at the center new case out of Illinois with a rather bizarre twist. She reportedly told her class about her finding an abandoned boxer puppy inside a duct-taped pillowcase. The incident was ultimately reported it to the police and the police determined that the story was untrue. Police charged her with filing a false report even though it does not appear that she went to the police.

sanchez-hope-a--10-2-77-jpg-20160429Sanchez told her class that she was riding her motorcycle when she spotted the pillowcase covered in duct tape. Police went to her home and found found nine puppies along with the mother. The puppies were all the same age — about five weeks old. Police say that Sanchez, who is also a therapist, provides services for a child of the family at the residence and given the puppy. Police determined that Sanchez was given the dog but that her partner did not want the pet. The mother of the puppies is a therapy dog for the child and was left at the home.

One report says that it was the family that saw the story on the news and called police. However, another report states that the police were called after a student, MCC student Natalie Kawell, volunteered to take the puppy to a shelter and told the shelter about the alleged dumping. The shelter called police and the story reached the media. Both may be true because it seems like the human development classroom story led to the student taking the puppy to the shelter and that that triggered a week long investigation.

What is interesting is that she is criminally charged even though she did not go to the police. It is not clear if her failure to deny the story or confirmed the story was deemed a police report for the purposes of the charge. However, the law allows a charge if you “cause” a police report to be filed. One report says that Sanchez admitted making up the story and said that she had hoped that her story would convince someone else to adopt him. The investigators said “She was completely embarrassed by it, and remorseful to put everybody through all of this stuff.”

Since she gave up the puppy, I am willing to believe that she told the story to generate sympathy for the puppy. I am also willing to believe that she never intended for the police to get involved. Under those circumstances, is a criminal charge truly warranted for “causing” a report to be filed?

Now, the school appears to be moving against Sanchez. The school issued a statement that “we are addressing this issue in the most appropriate and timely manner, and we are taking every measure to ensure that there will no impact on our students or in the classroom.” The school may view this as a felony charge that stemmed from conduct in a class.

The good news is that all 10 puppies to the Hoof, Woof and Meow Animal Rescue. They are slated for adoption and 40 applications have been received. In meantime, Sanchez is slated for a court appearance on May 12th at the McHenry County Government Center to face a charge of filing or causing the filing of a false police report, a Class 3 felony.

43 thoughts on “Illinois Professor Charged After Falsely Claiming In Class That She Found A Puppy On the Roadside In Sealed Pillowcase”

  1. The charge will ultimately be thrown out, and is a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money. I won’t say “police resources” because it appears that the police in that town don’t have enough to do. She told a tall tale and people may be “disappointed” in her, but her actions were not criminal. Good grief, people, are you serious? Prosecuting her for a fake puppy story? Congress will now have to include stories about sad puppies with big eyes in the prison reform legislation. @PuppyLiesMatter.

  2. I was in Dr Sanchez’s class when this all happened. I know what she told the class the day she brought the puppy in as, well as what she told us the day she was arrested. While it may seem small to some people, there was a false police report filed and she had lied to authorities, only admitting guilt when the story broke the local news stations and newspapers, and it had been exactly 1 week after the puppy had been “found”. So she waited to tell the truth for a full week. We students were extremely upset by this upheaval she caused and I personally felt that being a teacher and a psychologist she knew right from wrong and what she should have done. If she lied about something like this, who else knows what she lying about especially when it comes to her patients and their mental health.

  3. Knowingly lying and knowingly (causing) making a false report to an official are two separate things One is forbidden by statute, the other is not. Therefore no standing to prosecute exists, unless she maintained the masquerade to the police during their investigation.

    If on the other hand, while she was obtaining her duhgree she had become savvy enough to exercise her inalienable right to remain silent as recognized by the first amendment, it would have been very unlikely that she would have even been arrested. And even if she had, the charge would have likely been defeated.

    This whole matter was the result of some liberal do-gooder who wanted to see some unknown disposer of a puppy get arrested and punished. I certainly don’t agree with abandoning an animal in that alleged fashion, however I also do not agree that it should be a matter that would result in police action. Every human error should not become the basis for criminal prosecution and punishment.

    For what ever reason, many people seem to think that every human error should result in some criminal punishment, and so we hear the oft repeated phrase, “There ought to be a law”. . Why, if the story were true, why couldn’t people just be happy that the pup was found and saved. It’s not like it was a baby or a child. And if anyone had any civic duty to report such a matter, had it actually occurred, it would have been the professor. People have such long noses!

  4. ndmike — knowingly? – did she knowingly lie to her students? Did she damage anyone? If I am told a lie and I spend my time, energy and efforts as well as the Police’s time, energy and efforts in this case, trying to find and catch the perp, because of a fraudulent statement made literally in public, is that a damage?

    I think at the very least, she should be made to pay restitution both to the individual(s) that took the time to file the police report, but also the to Police dept. based on the time taken to investigate.

  5. ndmike writes,

    And unless the professor somehow knew that falsely telling her class that she rescued the puppy would cause a police report to be filed, the professor did not knowingly cause a false police report to be filed. There’s no crime here.

    So it appears what you are saying is that if the Professor did not admit to knowingly causing the report to be filed, then it would merely be the subjective judgment (speculation or suspicion) of the officer as to her mental state. Without more evidence than his suspicion or speculation it appears he has overstepped his qualified immunity and the actual crime was committed against the Professor.

    1. It is simply a case of cause and affect. Her actions (lying to her class) caused an(other(s) to file a fraudulent police report. That is why lying is perceived by most in society as a bad thing. Some like politicians, know it is a necessity, others like con artist, prosecutors and car salesmen, as a smart thing. If a police officer, attorney or prosecutor lies to get a confession or factual evidence, they are praised by society for being clever enough to make up the false information in order to get the confession or evidence.

      And we wonder why our society and history are filled with so many lies and misinformation. Of course the more malum prohibitum laws we have, the more prosecutors, police and attorneys get a chance to be praised for lying to get those confessions. Is not the devil always in the details, that fine print few read or never consider. Like I say, all social policies have negative ramifications in addition to their positive attributes, yet we seldom discuss the negative ramification or realize their significance.

      That is another reason why I think this case should be prosecuted.

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