“Puddles” Scandal Drives Mayor Out of Office

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Grace Saenz-Lopez, the mayor of Alice, Texas, resigned on February 1 after admitting that she had dognapped a Shih Tzu named "Puddles" that she had been caring for.

Ridiculous_dogNot since Nixon’s "Checkers" speech has a stupidly named dog been so important to a politician’s career.

Neighbors had given the dog to the mayor to take care of while they were on vacation last summer.  Just a day after they left, Saenz-Lopez called them and told them the dog had died.  (But enjoy your vacation!)  Three months later, however, a relative of the neighbors saw the dog at a groomer and noticed it was not dead.

The mayor refused to return the dog.  It’s not clear from this report whether she denied it was the same dog (she had renamed it "Panchito") or just flatly refused to give it back, but either way, the battle was on.  The family sued her and also filed a criminal complaint.  It seems that Saenz-Lopez then told the police that Puddles/Panchito was missing, but it was then spotted at the home of her twin sister who lived in a town about 10 miles away, and who was no better a dog-concealer than her twin.

The false police report did not help matters, and the mayor was indicted in January on two felony counts of tampering with and concealing evidence, which led to her resignation.

In her resignation letter, Saenz-Lopez wrote, "I am sorry for the division that the events of these last few weeks have caused," using the passive voice to indicate that it was the events’ fault and she was sorry for what they had done.  ‘It was never my intention," she said, "to bring any negative exposure to our city."

The mayor’s attorney has said that his client believed the dog would die if it was returned to her neighbors, but did not explain why she believed that.

Link: AP via SFGate.com