A New York state animal control officer was arrested after selling a stolen pet and telling the owner that the animal had died, authorities have said.
Scott Casterline, 51, was arrested on Thursday and charged in connection with stealing the dog, a nine-year-old Yorkshire terrier called Hope, and later selling it while working as an animal control officer, according to a press release from the Steuben county sheriff’s office.
Casterline first discovered Hope after she was found wandering outside in the city of Corning, which is around 45 miles west of Ithaca in upstate New York, and taken to a local animal shelter.
But instead of attempting to reunite Hope with her rightful owners, Casterline immediately sold the dog and informed the dog’s owners that she had passed away, the police said.
“It is alleged that Mr Casterline, acting as a public servant, took another’s property, a dog, sold that property and falsely reported the death of that dog,” the Steuben county sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Police later began investigating the dog’s alleged death after receiving a tip, the Corning Leader reported. Through phone investigations, police determined that Hope was actually not dead, but with a new family in Ohio, WENY reported.
Casterline sold Hope to an entirely new family, who did not realize the dog was actually stolen, according to the authorities.
Hope’s new family treated the dog very well, Steuben county police told WENY. The dog had even been on vacation to the Adirondacks, back in upstate New York, with her temporary owners.
However, Hope’s original owners have shared their joy over being reunited with their pet – who they believed was long gone.
Jeannine Staller, the dog’s owner, wrote a post on Facebook about being reunited with her “beloved” dog.
“We are finally able to share the news with all of you that our beloved dog, Hope, who was presumed dead 5 months ago is actually alive and back home!!” Staller wrote.
“The pain that we’ve endured for 5 months mourning her tragic death has been awful … The moment they showed up at our door with her was nothing short of a miracle!” Staller added.
Casterline faces multiple charges, including official misconduct, misapplication of property and issuing a false written statement.
Casterline had previously been contracted as an animal control officer by the city of Corning, New York, but resigned a few month ago, WENY reported.
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2023/oct/28/new-york-animal-control-officer-arrested-yorkshire-terrier New York animal control officer arrested in yorkie dognap plot | Dogs