Tuesday, January 4, 2011

4 Mt. Vernon Dogs Found; Search Continues For 3 Others

From CBS New York

Four of the seven dogs that were stolen from the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter were returned safely Tuesday night. Three pit bulls and a beagle were back in the safety of the shelter, bringing a sense of relief to workers.
“This is the best news, the fact that nobody touched them or hurt them,” Shelter Pet Alliance Vice President Allison Roesser said.
WCBS 880 Reporter Catherine Cioffi said the four dogs were found unharmed in an abandoned apartment in Yonkers. Roesser credits tips that were left on the shelter’s tipline for their safe return.
However, shelter workers and police are still looking for the other three dogs still missing since December 29.
“We have three out there, we want them to come home safely. The reward money is at least $2,000 so let’s spread the word and bring them home,” Roesser said.
“It’s relieving to know that the first four were unharmed.  So it makes us hopeful that the other three are still okay,” Roesser told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.
Roesser said those who called in the tips will be getting part of the reward money.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Mount Vernon Police Department at (914) 665-2500, Mount Vernon Animal Shelter at (914) 665-2444 or volunteers at 914-841-1001.

Update January 5, 2011 12:25pm - The following article is by Will David, The Journal News:

4 dogs stolen from Mount Vernon shelter returned; man, woman arrested

A man and woman from Yonkers were arrested in Yonkers with four of seven dogs stolen from the Mount Vernon Animal shelter, police said today.
A task force of Yonkers and Mount Vernon police made the arrests Tuesday night and confiscated three pit bulls and one beagle.
Mount Vernon police Commissioner Carl A. Bell said that the two people arrested and others were apparently selling the "great looking puppies."
The dogs were returned to the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter in good condition, police said.
Police are still looking for three more of the stolen dogs.
Police said they were also seeking to question a shelter volunteer in the case.
The arrests were made on the west side of Yonkers Tuesday night.
The dogs were stolen from the shelter last week.

Update January 5, 2011 12:41pm - The following article is from Mid-Hudson News Network:

Stolen dogs recovered in Westchester 

Dogs stolen from the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter have been recovered in the City of Yonkers and two people have been arrested. A man and woman, both 18, were arrested on charges of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree after they were spotted standing in the area of 163 North Broadway in Yonkers, holding two pit bulls and a beagle on leashes.

Yonkers Police became involved in the investigation when Mount Vernon detectives reported they were conducting a burglary investigation involving that city’s animal shelter.

The investigation is continuing. The two suspects were arrested on Tuesday.

Update January 8, 2011 9:41pm - The following article is by Ernie Garcia, The Journal News:

Another missing Mount Vernon dog recovered, more rewards offered

Two animal welfare groups have each donated $1,000 for tips about three dogs missing from the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter, as another missing dog turned up Friday morning.
Stars from the National Geographic television reality show Rescue Ink Unleashed visited the shelter Friday morning to give $1,000 to the Friends of the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also announced a $1,000 reward.Joe Panz, leader of the group Rescue Ink, said his animal welfare group got involved in the missing Mount Vernon dog case at the request of the Yonkers Humane Society.
"Rescue Ink backs up all the animal shelters and all the rescue groups," Panz said. "We go with the situations when there's very difficult circumstances where people can't crack cases, whether it's dog fighting, animal theft, animal abuse."
Lynne Smith of the Friends of the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter said another dog was returned Friday morning. Smith's group announced a $1,000 reward on Monday and she said the group will pay $750 for each of the dogs still missing.
Seven dogs were stolen from the police-run shelter last week.
Yonkers police announced on Wednesday that they had arrested two people in possession of four of the dogs. Two other dogs taken last week have not been recovered, in addition to another dog stolen in mid- to early-December.
Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Carl A. Bell has said a third person, a volunteer from the shelter, is being sought in connection with the burglary.
Allison Roesser, vice-president of Shelter Pet Alliance, which helps coordinate volunteers for the shelter, said that the third suspect was not a regular volunteer, but someone who only volunteered briefly until he was asked to leave over allegations of misconduct.
Anyone with information about the missing dogs is urged to call the Mount Vernon Police Department at 914-665-2500.

Update January 11, 2011 9:46pm - The following article is by Renea Henry, New Rochelle Patch:

Another Dog Recovered by Bronxville Volunteers

Shelter Pet Alliance has helped to safely return King, a stolen pit bull, back to the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter

Shelter Pet Alliance volunteers are still working hard to recover the dogs stolen from the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter on Dec. 28.
According to Vice President Allison Roesser, a pit bull named King was returned to the shelter “minutes ago.”
The group has managed to find 6 of the 8 missing dogs through their efforts.

There are just two more out there, Roesser said. “Fingers crossed we find them before the storm.”

Two 18 year-old suspects were arrested Jan. 4 in connection with three of the missing animals, according to Mount Vernon police.

Shelter Pet Alliance has worked with the Mt. Vernon Animal Shelter for over ten years providing volunteers from all over Westchester County. They are offering cash rewards for the safe return of the stolen animals.

Update January 12, 2011 9:49pm - The following article is by Will David and Ernie Garcia,  The Journal News:

3rd suspect arrested in theft of Mount Vernon shelter dogs

Police have arrested a third suspect in connection with the December theft of dogs from the city's animal shelter, and another dog has been returned for a reward.
Rhamaine Gayles, 20, was arrested Jan. 5 at a Yonkers homeless shelter. He was charged with third-degree burglary, a felony.Seven dogs were stolen from the shelter the last week of December, and an eighth dog had been taken prior to that. Six dogs, including the one taken earlier, have been recovered; two remain missing.
Mount Vernon police Capt. Roy Hastings said Gayles formerly volunteered at the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter and had also taken a dog from the shelter in the fall. That had led to a separate arrest; he was awaiting sentencing in February.
Some of the people who coordinate volunteers for the shelter disputed that Gayles was a regular volunteer, saying that he was asked to leave shortly after arriving at the shelter because of allegations of misconduct.
Police said Gayles stole the dogs for profit, not for dog fighting.
Last week, Yonkers police arrested two people who they said were in possession of four of the dogs, but the names of the suspects have not been released.
The names of the two dogs still missing are Brooklyn and Layla, said Lynne Smith of the Friends of the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter.
Hastings, commander of the department's support services, said the case remains an active investigation.

Update January 22, 2011 9:53pm - The following article is by Renea Henry, Bronxville-Eastchester Patch:

Seventh Dog Found From Mt. Vernon Shelter Theft

Layla is the seventh dog found after thefts from the Mt. Vernon Animal Shelter in December. Shelter Pet Alliance hopes more people will come forward to help out the understaffed facility

Another one of the eight dogs stolen from Mount Vernon Animal Shelter has been found. Layla, a female pit bull terrier has been recovered and is staying with a foster family until she is permanently adopted. Brooklyn, a one-year-old male pit bull terrier, is still missing.

Shelter Pet Alliance, based in Bronxville, regularly sends volunteers to work at the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter. The group quickly mobilized to offer a cash reward for the return of six dogs taken from the shelter in break-ins that occurred Dec. 28 and 29. Yonkers Police have arrested at least two suspects in connection with break-ins that occurred on Dec. 28 and 29.

The volunteer group extended its reward offer in hopes of finding other dogs stolen from the shelter in previous incidents. Allison Roesser of Shelter Pet Alliance is hopeful Brooklyn will be recovered soon as well. She says rewards have been given to people who assisted with the return of the seven dogs.

Just before the most recent dog theft, Mount Vernon significantly cut the animal shelter budget and eliminated a full-time warden position. According to Roesser, another full-time worker resigned two weeks ago.

“The one thing [the shelter] needs desperately is more volunteers,” said Roesser. “Anyone interested can call the tip line to find out how to get started.”
The Shelter Pet Alliance Tip Line phone number is 914-841-1001.

Update January 30, 2011 - The following article is from WINS:
8th And Final Dog Missing From Mt. Vernon Shelter Discovered

The eighth and final dog taken from the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter was found alive Sunday, bringing an end to the search that began a month ago.
Volunteers from the shelter said a tip from a Yonkers resident led to the discovery of “Brooklyn,” a pit bull, who was found in a vacant, boarded-up house.
Allison Roesser, of the Shelter Pet Alliance, spoke with 1010 WINS Sunday and said she believed the dog had probably lost about 20 pounds.
“He was a tough guy when he went in and the poor thing was just so grateful to see a volunteer that he recognized and he jumped up and kissed her face,” Roesser said.
Roesser credits teamwork by volunteers — specifically two woman from Long Island — who volunteered their time and posted fliers.
Four of the missing dogs were found during the first week of January. The remaining animals were found one at a time over the last three weeks — all of them were abandoned.
So far, three people have been arrested in connection with the thefts.

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