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Woman charged with animal cruelty after dog is thrown from moving vehicle

A criminal complaint says 26-year-old Raylean Chastity Gurneau threw the puppy from a speeding truck and into the path of pursuing squads.
Credit: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
Tahoe the rescue dog

ST PAUL, Minn. — Two people are facing charges after allegedly fleeing police and later throwing a dog from a moving vehicle. 

In a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County, prosecutors charge 26-year-old Raylean Gurneau of Minneapolis with one count of fleeing a peace officer, four counts of animal cruelty and one count of making fictitious 911 emergency calls.

Credit: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
Raylean Gurneau is charged with a handful of felonies, including four counts of animal mistreatment-cruelty for allegedly throwing a dog out of a speeding vehicle.

An associate, 33-year-old Donovan Goodman of Bemidji, faces charges including first-degree robbery, auto theft and fleeing a peace officer in connection with the Jan. 30, 2023 incident.

Court documents say the situation began when a sheriff's deputy initiated a traffic stop just before 11 p.m. that evening, after spotting a Ford F150 speeding and running a red light on Little Canada Road near Interstate 35E. The deputy says the driver didn't stop but sped off instead, driving into traffic going the wrong way. 

Prosecutors say at the same time the Ramsey County deputy was in pursuit of the truck, other officers were dispatched to investigate an alleged carjacking in the same area the deputy encountered the speeding truck. The 911 caller, who authorities say identified herself as "Melissa," told police that "a vehicle had been carjacked and someone had been shot." 

The caller disconnected with dispatch several times, prompting authorities to ping the caller's phone in order to determine her location. The complaint says after officers arrived at the area and were unable to locate a victim, they concluded the call and ongoing police pursuit were "likely" related.

Meanwhile, the pursuit of the Ford pickup continued with the driver pulling off I-694 and stopping briefly at the bottom of a ramp. There, authorities say, a rear passenger opened the door, pointed a gun and unsuccessfully attempted to carjack a black SUV before getting back in the truck, which again sped off.

The complaint says the truck eventually exited onto Lexington Avenue, where officers prepared a PIT maneuver to stop the vehicle. Before law enforcement could attempt the stop, deputies say a small white dog was thrown from rear passenger door of the pickup and into the path of pursuing squads. The pup rolled on the pavement several times before running off. 

Eventually, the truck was stopped and found to be stolen. Two men in the front seats fled the scene. Both were armed and subsequently carjacked other vehicles. 

Two women in the truck were taken into custody. One, later identified as Raylean Gurneau, was showing signs of an overdose. She was given Narcan and taken to Regions Hospital. 

Deputies launched a search for the missing dog and eventually followed a trail of blood to find the animal, who was alive but badly injured. He had several lacerations, the tip of his ear was dangling off and a rear leg was visibly injured. 

The pup was admitted to an animal hospital under the name Tahoe, and was found to have suffered a broken right shin bone and several lacerations. As of mid-February vet costs exceeded $15,000. Tahoe is currently being cared for by a dog rescue and rehabilitation organization as he recovers from physical and emotional abuse.

The driver of the truck, Donovan Goodman, told investigators that Gurneau made the fake 911 calls while snorting fentanyl in the back seat, with the intent of diverting deputies who were pursuing them. He also reportedly told authorities that it was Gurneau who threw Tahoe from the moving vehicle even though others in the truck told her not to. 

When asked about the incident Gurneau told detectives that she did not throw the dog from the vehicle but did not remember what happened. 

Prosecutors say Gurneau is already on probation for a previous animal cruelty charge and recently failed to appear at a hearing for an open auto theft case. 


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