A Franklin Township kennel owner, who on Sept. 23 was arrested and charged for various acts of theft by deception and fraudulent business practices has been charged for receiving stolen property.
According to the State Police in Lehighton, Patricia E. Gadaleta, 51, of Lehighton, the owner of Musket Labradors, used an alias name to order a Labrador Retriever from Belquest Kennels and Cattery of Maryland. She then failed to pay for the dog. She was taken into custody and arraigned.
This is the fourth investigation and round of charges conducted by state police concerning Gadaleta and Musket Labradors.
The previous three sets of charges stem from incidents similar to the aforementioned incident.
In all three occurrences, Gadaleta used alias names to order purebred dogs from various kennels in California, Oregon and Michigan.
Each time, Gadaleta, posing as someone from another state, failed to make proper payment for the animals.
The investigation began after authorities were notified by Cheri Conway of Klamath Falls, Oregon, owner of Thornwood Labrador Retrievers, after she received two bad checks from the private buyer, now identified as Gadaleta, for the two dogs she sold to the individual. A search warrant of Gadaleta's property was issued on Sept. 23 and authorities discovered the Conway's two dogs; as well as 99 other Labradors.
Charges of theft by deception and deceptive business practices; as well as deceptive and fraudulent business practices were added to Gadaleta's charges after Sharene Greer Clark and Dan Clark of California and Michelle Marie Veucasovic of Michigan filed complaints.
In similar situations, the Clarks sold a show dog, which, according to the affidavit has a total value of $3,200, but was sold at an undisclosed amount, to a woman from New Jersey, later identified as Gadaleta. Veucasovic also sold a show dog to a fictitious woman, later identified as Gadaleta.
As a result of the conditions observed at Gadaleta's commercial dog kennel during the search on Sept. 23, the Franklin Township Police Department began its own investigation on the kennel.
The Carbon County Animal Response Team and Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA); as well as numerous veterinarians and animal rescue organizations were on scene at the property on Pohopoco Drive until late last week, helping to care for the dogs until they could be safely removed and placed in various rescue shelters. The animals have since been removed.
Franklin Township Police have also turned over the investigation to the PSPCA, officers stated during a phone call to the department on Monday.
Numerous attempts to contact the PSPCA for updates on the investigation were unsuccessful as of press time.
State Police at Lehighton are asking that anyone else who was a victim of Gadaleta to contact the barracks at (610) 377-4270. The investigating officer is Trooper Nicolas A. De La Iglesia.