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Burns resident faces felony charges for fraudulent puppy purchase

Laramie County Governmental Complex is inlaid with a photo of Melinda Hurt. (Laramie County Sheriff's Office)

Correction: This story stated Melinda Hurt was charged with multiple felonies, she was arrested on multiple felonies but charged with felony theft.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A Burns resident, Melinda K. Hurt, 30, has been arrested on multiple felonies, including forgery and identity theft, following a peculiar incident involving the purchase of a Cock-a-poo puppy.

Hurt was arrested on Feb. 2, and made her initial court appearance on Feb. 5, facing serious allegations tied to a financing arrangement for the pet.

The case unfolded on Jan. 23, when Levi Burnside reported unauthorized use of his father’s information for financing a puppy purchase at Frontier Pets, located in Frontier Mall. Levi, holding power of attorney for his father, Mal Burnside, vigilantly monitors his father’s finances due to past fraud incidents.

Investigations revealed that on Dec. 24, Hurt acquired a black and white Cock-a-poo puppy for $2,211, using Mal Burnside’s personal information for financing through United Consumer Financial Services, according to a police affidavit. An altered Colorado Driver’s License bearing Mal’s name but Hurt’s photo facilitated the transaction.

Deputy Poteet, familiar with Burns’ residents, spotted Hurt’s husband walking three dogs, including the described Cock-a-poo. A chip implanted in the dog matched the store-provided number, confirming the puppy’s identity.

Upon arrest, Hurt claimed to have resolved the issue by paying for the dog before law enforcement’s intervention, according to police records. Hurt’s bond has been set at $3,000 cash, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 13.