Minneapolis woman sentenced for throwing puppy out of stolen vehicle during pursuit

Taho was rescued after being thrown from a stolen vehicle during a chase on Monday. (Credit Ramsey County Sheriffs Office) 

A woman accused of throwing a dog out of a stolen vehicle while fleeing law enforcement in St. Paul was sentenced on Monday.

Raylean Chastity Gurneau, 27, received a three-year stayed sentence and is prohibited from owning an animal after she pleaded guilty in August to felony overwork/mistreating an animal and placing a fictitious 911 call, in exchange for several other charges being dropped.

According to court records, deputies pursued a driver in a stolen vehicle who had run a red light around 11 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2023. The driver started speeding and heading the wrong way on Interstate 694. 

Around the same time, someone called 911 stating a person had been carjacked and shot. While authorities continued to pursue the stolen vehicle, dispatch pinged the 911 caller’s phone, who authorities say was Gurneau trying to divert police from the pursuit.

During the pursuit, the passenger’s side back door, where Gurneau was sitting, quickly opened and deputies saw the suspects throw a "white object" out of the vehicle onto the freeway, which rolled into the traffic lanes. Deputies began investigating and reviewed an in-car camera video. They learned it was a puppy thrown from the car.

The following morning, deputies searched the surrounding area and found the puppy alive. The dog was hiding in the snow on the side of the freeway about 50 yards from where he was thrown. 

According to court records, Gurneau has a history of animal abuse. In November 2021, she was accused of abandoning a dog who was found in a parking lot limping, and suffering from BB gun wounds. Ultimately, one of the dog's eyes had to be surgically removed because of the damage. 

She pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge for the crime in March 2023 and received a 17-month stayed sentence.