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‘Charles the Monarch’ dog owner found guilty of violating plea agreement

NORFOLK, Va. - Locally famous dog 'Charles the Monarch' is now the property of the City of Norfolk after his owner violated a Court's Order.

Daniel Painter recently reached a plea agreement after his locally famous dog, 'Charles the Monarch' went into animal control custody in March. He was found guilty Friday of violating that plea agreement.

Painter must pay a $250 fine. It is not clear what will happen to Charles.

"I think if the owner can`t follow the plea agreement then he deserves to lose the dog and the dog needs to go to somebody who will take care of him," local Terri Hall said.

Charles the Monarch with an ODU fan.

Charles the Monarch with an ODU fan.

The dog was first picked up by animal control in March after being seen roaming around Colley Avenue.  Painter was charged with nuisance animal misdemeanor.

The Judge ordered that Charles, also known as Charlie, remain on a leash whenever he is not on Painter's property. The Judge said the only time Charlie was allowed off of his leash was when performing mascot duties at ODU football games on ODU property.

During a previous hearing in Norfolk General District Court, Painter agreed to keep the dog on a leash when not on his property. He also agreed to build a fence around his property. After reaching these agreements, the judge suspended a 60-day jail sentence and $2,500 fine.

The pair was reunited April 15 after Painter's court appearance.

However, several hours after Charlie was released from the Norfolk Animal Care Center, he was seen off of his leash at multiple places around Norfolk. Painter was filmed with his dog running around off leash.

"Charlie was sitting at the floor peeking out at the end of the floor, seconds later he put both of his hands on the top of the table," Norfolk City Employee Leslie Garrett said. " At no time was he on a leash.”

Painter's attorney said he didn't know he had to have the dog on a leash in confined areas.

“When outside the home he would be on a leash, so the dog wouldn’t run free in the city," Bobby Howlett explained. "I don’t think anyone envisioned when Daniel takes that dog to a friend’s house – he has to keep the dog on a leash in the friend’s house.”

Deputy City Attorney Cynthia Hall says Painter tried to get around the Court's Order by taking Charlie to his sister's house in Gloucester on Sunday after realizing he was caught violating the order.

"I will request that the Court impose the previously suspended fine of $2,500 and 60 days [in] jail for Daniel Painter’s flagrant disregard of the Court’s Order," Hall said in a news release.

Painter's sister says she will cooperate in getting Charlie back to the Norfolk Animal Care Center where Charlie will be adopted to another owner.

Colley Avenue businesses owner Bridget Varney says separating them Charles from Painter is worse.

"I know that they have a close relationship, so I wouldn`t want the dog to be traumatized," Varney said. "Dogs have feelings too, so if he`s taken from his owner that might not be beneficial to the dog."