MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- A woman caught on video allegedly abandoning three dogs at a car wash last month has been arrested. Racheal Barnes, 38, of Imperial, has been charged with Cruelty to Animals by Abandoning. 

According to court records, on February 17, two women were caught on video allegedly dumping three dogs at the Green and Clean Car Wash at 5310 Briarwood. Investigators said the owner of the car wash saw the women, one described as a young teenager, behaving “suspiciously” for more than an hour. They reportedly released three puppies into the parking lot, tried to scare the pups away, and then washed a dog kennel they’d used for transport. 

When confronted about the dogs, the witness said the woman, later identified as Barnes, denied owning the dogs and then drove away in a silver Oldsmobile. The owner of the car wash then called Animal Control for help. 

An affidavit stated that an Animal Control officer arrived on the scene and found the puppies. They were taken to the shelter for medical care and were described as being in “poor health”.

Investigators later identified Barnes as a suspect and spoke with her by phone. During the initial conversation, investigators said Barnes said she’d brought the dogs to Midland from Fort Stockton and had stopped at the car wash to wash the car and call Animal Control to come and pick up the pups.

Barnes said she let the dogs out from their kennel so they could potty and claimed she didn’t have a leash. Investigators said they could not confirm that Barnes ever made a call to Animal Control and said a screenshot she sent as proof of the call showed a number not connected with the shelter. The Midland Police Department requested a warrant for Barnes’ arrest, and she was taken into custody on March 4. She’s since been released on an unknown bond. 

The Midland Animal Shelter Animal Services Manager, Ty Coleman, said animal cruelty in the area is, unfortunately, very common and also very sad. 

“It’s really heartbreaking. Seeing the animals, they’re being taken out of their vehicles, they’re wagging their tails, thinking something exciting is about to happen and then you just drive off and you see the animal chasing the vehicle, which is just very sad,” he said. 

Coleman hopes people understand there are options if you do want to get rid of your pets.

“We want people to reach out for help. Ask for help before making that criminal decision to dump the animal, because it is a class a misdemeanor,” he emphasized. “Reach out to your friends, your neighbors, reach out on social media to people and ask for help. That’s the biggest thing, just ask for help.”