Pictured: These two dogs, brother and sister to the dog alleged to have been stolen, were out with protestors Monday evening as an effort to get Mayor Grace Saenz-Lopez to return the Gutierrez dog. OFELIA GARCIA HUNTER

Family protests mayor at City Hall

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

About 25 people with signs that read "Dog stealer, she'll steal our taxes too," "Alice mayor equals mean neighbor" and "Alice Mayor Cruella," protested across the street from City Hall in efforts to help a family get its dog back from Mayor Grace Saenz-Lopez, who they are accusing of taking it.

"We just want the dog back," said dog owner Marisela Cavazos. "It's not just about the dog any more, but all of (the mayor's) lying."

Cavazos and her husband, Rudy Gutierrez, have alleged Mayor Grace Saenz-Lopez lied to them when they left their dog, a Shitzu, in the care of Saenz-Lopez sometime in July when they went on vacation. When the family checked up on the dog Saenz-Lopez told them the dog had died, they said.

Then, at the end of October, a friend spotted the dog and told the family. According to the family, the mayor has refused to give them back their dog.

The family filed a theft report with the Alice Police Department as a criminal case, but on Thursday the Jim Wells County Attorney's office ruled it a civil matter. The family is scheduled to go to court on Friday in an attempt to get their dog returned.

"This is not a civil (case), it's theft," Cavazos said. "If you think about it, anybody else would have given the dog back, but because it's her, she thinks she can get away with it."

About 25 family members and friends protested just before the start of the Alice City Council meeting across the street from the City Hall.

Saenz-Lopez did not attend the council meeting Monday evening. Saenz-Lopez could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning.

Friends of the Gutierrez family say they want justice.

"Everybody knows she has the dog and now we want justice," said Crissy Uribe, Cavazos' sister.

For about two hours, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. motorists drove by honking their horns in support of the protestors.

"She (Saenz-Lopez) did real wrong to my daughter and my grandkids," Adan Cavazos said. "We were good friends, but because she is the mayor, she thinks she can do anything she wants, it's not fair."

Zulema Chapa, an aunt to the family, said the children have had a hard time dealing with the absence of their dog.

"She stole it from these kids," she said. "And they want their dog back."