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This week in Texas, a woman drove to a garbage dump and dropped off two puppies. She just abandoned them in a cruel and cowardly act.

When Newton County Sheriff Billy Rowles received a call about the incident, he was able to locate the woman in question… but instead of punishing her in any way, the two of them bonded over a shared love for Jesus.

At least that’s what I took away from his weekly letter to the community, published in the Houston Chronicle:

We received a call reporting that a lady dumped two puppies at the dump.

We located her and had a prayer meeting with her. It’s against the law to dump dogs. I don’t think she will do it again.

… That’s it? That’s not just illegal, that’s useless. How does prayer help the dogs? Who’s taking care of the dogs right now?! Would Rowles have let her off the hook if she didn’t share his religious beliefs?

Freedom From Religion Foundation attorney Ryan Jayne is also angry about the situation, and he said as much in a letter to the sheriff.

This is alarming and unacceptable… you not only failed to enforce the law, but you also chose to inject religion into your interaction with the offender. You owe all Newton County residents, especially nonreligious residents and those who care about animal welfare, an immediate apology. Further, FFRF requests written assurances that your office will not impose religion on citizens, or substitute prayer for punishment, in the future.

… Foregoing even a nominal punishment against a woman who abandoned two puppies in a dump sends a message that your office does not view this as a serious offense.

Jayne also points out that Rowle’s weekly letter also mentions a case involving sexual assault of a child and someone scamming the elderly: “If you caught any of these perpetrators, would a ‘prayer meeting’ be a sufficient remedy? We hope the answer is ‘no’…”

Christ may forgive sins in some people’s imaginations, but being a Christian shouldn’t help someone avoid justice. The dogs deserve so much better than that.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.