City Official Arrested for Cutting Lock, Freeing Pit Bulls from Seminole Animal Shelter

City Official Arrested for Cutting Lock, Freeing Pit Bulls from Seminole Animal Shelter

SEMINOLE, TX (KWES) - A Seminole City Council member was arrested Thursday morning and charged with criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor, investigators said.

Michael Kyle Sodd, 48, turned himself in and admitted to cutting a lock at the Seminole Animal Shelter in order to free his two pit bulls. He was booked into the Gaines County Law Enforcement Center and later released on a $1,500 bond, according to officials.

Sodd first took office as the District 2, Place 2 Councilman in May 2010 and was reelected to the seven-member Seminole City Council in 2012 and 2014. He could not be reached for comment.

"To me, elected officials are public servants," said Seminole Police Chief Bernie Kraft. "I am disappointed in him."

The councilman's dogs were picked up by officers "several blocks" from his home on June 27 and taken to the shelter after a caller reported seeing them prowling unsupervised.

"There's an ordinance [stating] you can't have your dogs running loose," Kraft told NewsWest 9. "People called in and [the dogs] were kind of aggressive when officers went to pick them up... They had to use pepper spray but they were able to get them under control."

Sodd ducked under the animal shelter's locked gate and freed them from their pen two days later, he said, but initially denied having any involvement. However, mounting evidence linked him to the shelter break-in weeks before he came forward and presented the broken lock to police with his confession.

"First of all, there were the dogs," said Kraft. "Those were the only two dogs that went missing after the lock was cut... Later, we find them in his backyard and his girlfriend says they're his... There was also forensic evidence on his bolt cutters."

Rust and white paint found on the tool were traced back to the metal lock cover on the animal shelter's front pen, he explained.

Police initially recommended a Class A misdemeanor charge of trespassing. The warrant issued Wednesday by the County Attorney's office was for criminal mischief, a Class B misdemeanor.

If convicted, the councilman faces a fine of up to $2,000 or a maximum of 180 days in jail.

"I think he knows now he made a big mistake," said Kraft. "Public official or not, we investigate every case the same way. There's right and there's wrong. Nobody is above the law."