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Woman jailed for drowning family's puppy

A woman suspected of drowning a 6-month-old pit bull puppy in the Chetco River earlier this month because she was mad at the puppy's owner was arrested Thursday in west Medford.

Medford police arrested Rachel Estelle Wilson-McCollough, 39, on a charge of aggravated first-degree animal abuse after getting a tip from the Curry County Sheriff's Department, which had been investigating the reported drowning for a week and a half.

The sheriff's department got a report of the drowning Aug. 9. Witnesses said Wilson-McCullough had gone to the Chetco River with another woman, that woman's daughter and their puppy. She became angry at them and took the pup, diving into the river near Elephant Rock with it. She held it under the water, then pinned its body underwater with rocks, witnesses told investigators.

Curry County investigators said Wilson-McCullough doesn't have a permanent address, but last lived on North Bank Chetco River Road in Brookings. She comes to Jackson County regularly, and Curry County authorities got a tip Thursday that she was staying at a duplex on Prune Street in Medford. They contacted Medford police and an officer went to interview the residents at that home, Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said.

Although Wilson-McCullough initially gave a false name and tried to run away, she ultimately stopped at the officer's command and admitted that she was wanted in Curry County on an animal abuse charge. She was arrested at about 5 p.m. Thursday, Doney said.

She was taken to the Jackson County Jail, then transported by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department halfway to Gold Beach, where Curry County deputies could take her into custody.

She was taken to Gold Beach and lodged in the Curry County Jail, where she remained Friday, Curry County officials said.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.

Woman jailed for drowning family's puppy