Puppy In Freezer Bag Picture Leads To Cruelty Charges

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CBS) — A mother and son are each facing a charge of extreme cruelty to animals after a picture shared on Facebook was turned over to authorities.

According to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department, 44-year-old Mary Snell was trying to take a picture showing the small size of the family's new puppy, Baby. When the puppy wouldn't hold still, officials say Snell put Baby in a freezer bag.

Her son, 21-year-old James Engel, snapped a photo of it and shared it on Facebook, according to BCSD. A good samaritan then shared the photo with the sheriff's department.

In the picture, the bag is open, but the puppy's face is in a corner.

Sgt. Aaron Williamson said the photo opportunity could have been deadly for Baby.

"When we talked to Animal Care Services, it's basically the same thing as an infant," Williamson said. "The young puppy doesn't have the ability to move its head to get to a fresh supply of oxygen. The way it was positioned in the bag, they said it would've only taken a few seconds to cause the puppy to suffocate."

The Animal Cruelty Task Force tracked Snell and Engel down Saturday night to a northeast Albuquerque apartment complex. BCSD said Snell told investigators she knew it was wrong to put the puppy in the bag, but she couldn't get the dog to hold still any other way.

Both Snell and Engel were placed under arrest for felony animal cruelty.

The puppy was checked out by Animal Care Services and is doing just fine. BCSD said another family member is now taking care of the puppy.