Jessica S. Skacel, 30, of Derry, and Ashley M. Giovannagelo, 22, of Greensburg, were charged with criminal conspiracy and theft, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported yesterday.
According to court documents, Skacel was hired as a caretaker for the sisters, now ages 85 and 83, in their home in Derry Township in 2011. Giovannagelo later assisted her in those duties.
Police say they started stealing from the sisters — both from their bank accounts and money the sisters had squirreled away in hiding places around the house — in early 2012.
Police began an investigation after a man who has power of attorney for the sisters noticed their bank accounts, both of which exceeded $100,000, ” were basically empty,” according to court documents.
“The bank records showed that both victims were making regular, large cash withdrawals from their accounts in amounts such as $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 and even $20,000 at a time,” an investigating officer stated.
Police say the money was used to cover travel expenses to dog shows. Skacel’s former husband, Kyle Squib, told police she purchased two trailers for more than $5,000 to transport dogs to shows.
Police say Skacel admitted to stealing an estimated $40,000-$50,000 from the sisters.
Skacel is a dog groomer and Giovannagelo shows dogs regularly, according to their Facebook pages.
Skacel and Giovannagelo were fired as caretakers for the sisters in September 2013, shortly after the investigation began, police said.
Both face preliminary hearings Sept. 3 before a district judge.
(Photo: Ashley Giovannagelo shows a St. Bernard at a dog show in a photo posted on her Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 31st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: Ashley Giovannagelo, caretakers, charged, competition, contests, derry, dog, dog show, dog shows, dogs, elderly, groomer, Jessica Skacel, pennsylvania, police, purebreds, sisters, st. bernard, theft
First she lost her job, then she lost the home she shared with her son — a temporary motel room.
Last Thursday, Tina Lambert lost her dog, too, when, while staying in a park, a stranger shot and killed her Rottweiler mix after the dog growled at him.
Lambert has been staying in Memorial Park in Sumter, S.C., with her son and two dogs, WLTX reported.
They were gathered by a bench Thursday when a man walked up, leading her dog, Ayakashi, to growl. The man fired one shot, killing the dog. Lambert said her dog was on a leash.
“There was my dog, she had a hole in her chest this big” said Lambert. “He blew a hole in her, she was gone. She took a couple breaths and that was all there was to it.”
Lambert says the man made a remark, laughed and ran to is car.
He later went to the Sumter Police Department to file a report saying he acted in self defense. The man, who police haven’t identified publicly, told officers the dog was unleashed.
Residents living near the park say Lambert’s dogs are friendly, and always on their leashes.
Sumter Police say because of the man’s concealed carry permit, and his claim that the dog was unleashed, no charges will be filed.
Lambert said she plans to dispute that decision.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 29th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, carrying, concealed, dog, dogs, growled, gun, homeless, killed, leashed, memorial park, mix, no charges, permit, pets, police, rottweiler, shoots, south carolina, stranger, sumter, tina lambert, unleashed, weapon
That police in St. Clair Shores in Michigan saw killing a dog as the preferable way to stop her barking has been pretty well documented in dash cam videos that have become public.
As soon as they pulled up at the scene, their dashboard camera recorded remarks they were making inside their patrol car, like “The only thing I’m going to do is shoot it” and “I don’t do snares. I don’t do dogs … I’ll shoot the f—ing thing.”
But why there were 15 bullet holes in Lexie, a dog police officers only admitted to shooting four times, is a question that may go unanswered — at least until a federal lawsuit filed by the dog’s owner comes to trial.
The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, stems from the November 2013 shooting of Lexie, a 44-pound mixed breed who was the subject of a barking dog complaint filed by a neighbor.
Lexie’s owner, Brittay Preston, filed the lawsuit against the city of St. Clair Shores, two police officers and an animal control officer, according to Fox News in Detroit. It alleges a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable seizure.
The lawsuit seeks money damages, and assurances that St. Clair Township police will “train their officers so that there’s not another incident where they respond to a barking dog complaint by killing it,” said Preston’s attorney, Chris Olson.
Preston was at work and the dog was under the care of a grandfather, who suffers from dementia and forgot to let Lexie back inside during a cold night.
Officers, after discussing their alternatives in the patrol car, approached the home and eventually persuaded the grandfather to let the dog in the house. After he agreed to do so, they shot the dog saying she lunged at them in a threatening manner.
Attorney Olson said the discussion recorded by the dash came shows the shooting was premeditated.
“Neighbors complained of a dog that was barking. [Police] showed up. The first thing that they said out of their mouths was they don’t like dogs; they don’t do dogs; they’re going to shoot the dog anyway. And that’s exactly what they did,” he said.
“Then they shot the dog again, instead of trying to take care of the dog, getting some care of the dog to prevent it from dying, they did what they intended to do. They made sure that the dog died. They shot it again, and then the dog walked into the animal control van and then when we picked up the dog it had extra bullet holes,” he added.
A necropsy conducted by a veterinarians found 15 bullet holes in Lexie.
Officers, after shooting and wounding the dog, can be heard discussing what to do next, including “choking it out” and “using a shovel,” according to the lawsuit.
One officer remarked that would be a bad idea because “you know this is going to be all over Facebook in about an hour.”
“We’re saddened when anyone loses a pet, but since the city and its employees are being sued, the city will certainly defend the lawsuit,” St. Clair Shores City Attorney Robert Ihrie said in a statement. “The complaint that was filed is filled with innuendo, speculation and half truths, and I have no doubt when it’s held up to the light of day, the truth will bear itself out in court.”
(Photo: from the Justice for Lexie Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 25th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 15 bullet holes, animals, barking, brittany preston, brittay preston, cam, complaint, conversation, dash, dashboard, dog, dogs, federal, Fourth amendment, justice 4 lexie, justice for lexie, killed, law enforcement, lawsuit, lexie, michigan, necropsy, nuisance, officers, pets, police, recorded, shooting, shot, st. clair shores
“We as a city again want to offer our complete apology to Mr. Jones,” Mayor Steve Widmyer said at last night’s City Council meeting.
Widmyer said the city will “take full responsibility” for the death of the 2-year-old black Lab mix, named Arfee, if the investigation determines mistakes were made.
Arfee was alone in a parked van when a police officer — as yet unnamed — approached it from the rear during an investigation. The officer says the dog lunged at him when he neared the partially opened window. He fired one shot — through the window glass — hitting Arfee in the chest and killing him.
Police Chief Ron Clark also spoke at the start of last night’s council meeting, calling the shooting “a regrettable tragedy.” He said he has spoken to the dog’s owner, Craig Jones, a former Coeur d’Alene resident now living in Colorado who was visiting the Idaho city during the 4th of July weekend.
“I told him how sorry I was about this incident,” the chief said. “And we had a good conversation. We discussed the entire situation and also about how it was unintended.”
Jones left Arfee in the van while he went out to breakfast and returned to find a bullet hole through the window, according to the Spokesman-Review.
In a news release after the shooting, police said they were responding to a report of a suspicious van, possibly containing someone watching young children. When an officer approached the van on the driver’s side, “a vicious Pit Bull dog lunged out the open driver’s side window toward the Officer’s face,” the release said.
Police removed the dog’s body and left before Jones returned to this van. Police later said the dog was a Lab mix, not a pit bull.
A witness to the shooting also spoke at last night’s council meeting.
“Everything that I witnessed appeared to be a complete cover-up,” Jessi Johnson told the council. “Everybody watched and nobody did the right thing.”
Police Chief Clark said the department’s investigation will be reviewed by the city’s legal department, the administration and an outside authority yet to be identified. The results will he shared with the public, he said.
“I’m going to do everything I can to avoid anything like this happening in the future,” he added.
The officer involved will be reassigned from patrol to office duty until the investigation and reviews are completed, Clark said. The city has withheld the officer’s name and the officer’s report on the incident, according to the Spokesman-Review.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 16th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arfee, car, coeur dalene, craig jones, dog, dogs, idaho, investigation, killed, killing, lab mix, law enforcement, officer, parked, pets, pit bull, police, shot, van, window
Not every white van is driven by a child predator.
Not every large dog is a pit bull.
Why police in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, wanted to check out a white van parked near a coffee shop Wednesday morning is understandable: It fit the description of one being used by a child predator, and the coffee shop owners had called to report someone inside it was watching young children from a nearby parking lot.
Why the officer shot the van’s only occupant — a dog – is a little less understandable.
And why investigators called the dog a “vicious pit bull” makes even less sense.
Arfee was a black lab, according to his owner, Craig Jones, who was eating breakfast at a nearby restaurant — not scoping out children — when the officer approached his van from behind with his gun drawn.
When the dog lunged toward him out of the partially open driver’s side window the officer fired one round, through the window, hitting Arfee in the chest. He later died.
Jones said Arfee, who was two years old, did not have a mean bone in his body. “This still isn’t even real to me,” Jones told KREM 2 News.
“If my dog is barking and wondering who’s peering through the windows he doesn’t care if you’re a cop, an attorney, or President Bush,” said Jones. “He doesn’t know any difference.”
Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Ron Clark said the department is reviewing the shooting, and said initial police reports describing the dog as a pit bull were erroneous.
“Animal control officers originally identified the dog as a pit bull,” he said. “The Police Department had a veterinarian examine the dog and it has been identified as a lab mix.”
“We understand the grief the family is dealing with due to the loss of their pet. We also understand the distress this has caused for citizens,” Clark said. “The officer who shot the dog is also distraught over this incident.”
Arfee’s owner, who formerly lived in Coeur d’Alene, was visiting for the 4th of July weekend, according to the Spokesman-Review.
“Best 4th of July weekend in cda eva,” Jones, who now lives in Colorado, posted on his Facebook page earlier in the week.
On Wednesday, he posted this: “Cda cops just shot my dog while I ate lunch at Java?”
Yesterday, he thanked his Facebook friends for their support. “Today is definitely harder than yesterday. Just seeing his ball in my rig tears me apart,” he wrote. “This cop left a hole in both of (us) that can’t be fixed.”
(Photo: Craig Jones’ Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 11th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arfee, arfie, black lab, child, coeur dalene, craig jones, dog, dogs, idaho, investigation, killed, lab, labrador, labrador retriever, law enforcement, parked, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, predator, profiling, shot, stereotypes, van
“We have no words to describe this. To say that we are appalled at this allegation is an understatement,” Baltimore police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said.
Police were called Saturday morning to Grundy Street in southeast Baltimore for a report of a stray dog that had bitten someone trying to rescue it.
Police had secured the dog using a catch pole, but after that Bolger, an officer assigned to the emergency services division, used a knife to cut the dog’s throat, police said.
“Unfortunately, at some point after the dog was contained, one of our officers used a knife and cut the dog’s throat. This is outrageous and unacceptable breach of our protocol,” Baltimore police Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere said.
WJZ in Baltimore reported that charging documents quote Bolger as saying, “I’m going to gut this thing.”
The dog later died.
Police officials said they knew of no reason for the officer to use such force on a dog that was already under control.
The dog had run off from her home nearby. She was a 7-year-old shar-pei named Nala, whose owner was searching for her and had posted her pictures on a community Facebook page.
“She was just the sweetest dog and would never hurt anyone,” Sarah Gossard told 11 News. “She was just scared that day and through all of those events — scared and lost, thirsty, hungry — yes I’m very sure that she bit someone, but the actions after that were not OK,” the dog’s owner,
Bolger been suspended without pay.
“I don’t want him to have his job, I don’t want him to be able to go out on calls and react like that to a person, to a dog, to anything. That’s not OK, that’s not OK,” Gossard said.
An investigation into the incident will also look at other officers who, though aware of what happened, had not reported it,.
Police commanders said they “caught wind of it Monday” — two days after Nala was killed.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 19th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrested, baltimore, charged, city, contained, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, i'm going to gut this thing, investigation, jeffrey bolger, knife, law enforcement, nala, officer, pets, police, sarah gossard, shar-pei, sharpei, slit, throat
I’m all for dogs on college campuses, and all for campus security.
But news that the governor of Ohio wants every campus in the state to have its own bomb-sniffing dog troubles me — mostly for what it says about our times.
Youngstown State University was presented a bomb-sniffing dog Monday as part of a pilot program that officials eventually hope to expand throughout the state’s public universities, the Associated Press reported.
Bomb sniffing dogs were to be presented at Ohio State University yesterday and at Bowling Green State University today.
Kent State University already has one, and wants to get another.
Ohio’s public safety director, John Born, says it’s all part of Gov. John Kasich’s plans to strengthen school safety for students — from preschool to college age.
Born says the dogs can respond to threats and conduct security sweeps for large-scale events, such as athletic games or visits by dignitaries.
It costs more than $12,700 to buy each animal and pay for initial training and equipment. Ohio Homeland Security is covering the costs with federal grant money.
The universities provide the officers who become the dogs’ full-time handlers.
“There’s just not enough explosives dogs in the state for the need depending on where you are, so this is hopefully the beginning of a more comprehensive effort,” Born said.
Participating universities have to agree that the dogs will be available if there is an off-campus need, such as a threat at a high school.
(Photo: Ohio State University police officer Joanna Shaul and her canine, courtesy of Ohio State University)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 11th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bomb, bombs, campus, canines, college, detecting, dogs, explosive, explosives, governor, john kasich, ohio, pets, police, school, security, sniffing, universities