An investigation led by the Nebraska Humane Society has led to the seizure of nine dogs listed on Craigslist. The dogs, everything from Chihuahua’s to German shepherds were being sold, and the respondents threatened when they refused to cough up more money for the advertised dogs.
The arrests occurred after people in Omaha trying to adopt a dog using Craigslist felt threatened after meeting with the seller’s in various parking lots. They had a feeling something wasn’t quite right and were afraid the dogs weren’t being cared for properly.
Many potential buyers felt threatened when they were verbally abused after refusing to pay more money for the dog than listed on Craigslist. Several people who purchased a dog later received threatening emails from the sellers, where foul language was used and violence threatened if more money wasn’t paid for the dog. One woman was contacted by phone where she was threatened with bodily harm.
The Nebraska Humane Society was contacted by several worried dog lovers. They investigated the matter, and four arrests were made on May 23. Multiple charges were made against Melissa Aguilar-Gonzolex, Judith Elizabeth-Malpartida and Gino Malpartida, including harboring too many dogs in unsanitary conditions. The three were also wanted for outstanding warrants from Iowa, Indiana and Florida.
They had only recently moved to Omaha. Obeli Escobar-Thomas was also arrested on an obstruction of justice charge. Authorities with Immigration and Customs is holding Escobar-Thomas, and further charges may be made against him.
After a search warrant was issued for the rented property at 4949 N. 35th Street, it took almost an hour for police to enter the premises. Inside they found urine and feces throughout the house, and the suspects hiding in the attic. The dogs had food and water, but were seized as the NHS felt the dogs living conditions would have deteriorated if left in that environment.
The suspects received a high bond after appearing in court on May 24. The dogs are now in the custody of the Nebraska Humane Society, and the possibility some of the dogs were stolen is being investigated.
The Humane Society cautions people against parting with their pets using Craigslist. Many pets are sold to labs for research, or abused by the person claiming they only want a pet. They also suggest anyone who has a bad feeling about a dog adoption situation should contact their local Humane Society or the police. And never, ever turn over a pet to anyone before getting and checking references.
Readers, have any of you ever used Craigslist to find a home for a pet? Have you ever adopted using Craigslist. What was your experience? Your comments are welcome.