No prison time and a judge's order to have no pets are part of a sentence for a woman who threw a pit bull puppy out of a pickup truck window while being chased by sheriff's deputies in Ramsey County one frigid winter's night.
Raylean C. Gurneau, 27, of Minneapolis, was sentenced Monday in Ramsey County District Court to three years' probation and other terms in connection with her pleading guilty to animal cruelty and to placing a false 911 call on Jan. 30.
While the prosecution asked for prison time, Judge Adam Yang decided not to impose a two-year term and instead put Gurneau on probation. Other terms of the sentence include 50 hours of community service and for Gurneau to "not own or have custody over any pet or animal" while on probation.
After being thrown along Interstate 694 from the pickup, which turned out to be stolen, the puppy shivered for hours in subzero weather until deputies rescued him from a snowy freeway embankment the next morning.
Deputies named the puppy Taho, and he was treated for a broken leg and other injuries. Veterinary costs for Taho totaled more than $15,000 while he was cared for by a dog rescue and rehabilitation organization. In mid-April, however, the rehab facility announced that Taho was euthanized because the trauma inflicted on him made the dog a "serious risk" for the community.
Also alleged to be in the pickup was Chue Feng Yang, 33, of St. Paul, who was shot to death on April 27 by FBI agents after he barricaded himself for hours in a north Minneapolis home, livestreamed his negotiations with law enforcement and then emerged armed and with a woman who appeared to be Gurneau tied to him. The shooting occurred while the FBI tried to arrest Yang for a carjacking.
According to the charges against Gurneau:
A sheriff's deputy began pursuing the pickup after the driver ran a red light. The deputy turned on the squad's emergency lights and siren, but the driver sped up and started heading the wrong way on the interstate.
In the meantime, other deputies were sent to Interstate 35E and Little Canada Road around that time for a 911 call. The caller said they had been carjacked and someone was shot. But law enforcement responding to the location found no evidence of the reported crimes.
Meanwhile, when law enforcement prepared to stop the pickup with a squad blocking tactic, someone threw a small dog onto the road. Once the deputies forced the pickup to stop, Yang and another man got out of the truck and carjacked two nearby vehicles at gunpoint.
Yang escaped capture. However, the other man, 34-year-old Donovan Alan Goodman, was arrested on Feb. 25 with a stolen vehicle and charged in federal court with aggravated robbery, auto theft and fleeing police. He was sentenced last month to nearly 18 years in prison.
Goodman later admitted to driving the stolen truck, saying that Gurneau placed the fake 911 call from the backseat. He also said that Gurneau snorted fentanyl during the pursuit and threw the dog from the pickup.
Gurneau also was sentenced in March to three years' probation for an unrelated animal cruelty charge filed in Hennepin County in 2021. In that case, Gurneau and Yang dumped the dog in a Bloomington parking lot.
Police say the two had agreed to watch the dog but refused to return it to its owner, then beat the animal and didn't feed it. Officers later found the pet with around a dozen BB gun pellet injuries.