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Kennel owner's charges mount

Published September 30. 2010 05:00PM

More charges against a Franklin Township kennel owner have been filed in a related case of theft by deception.

According to state police at Lehighton, Patricia E. Gadaleta, 51, the owner of Musket Labradors, has been charged with theft by deception and deceptive business practices.

This time, troopers state, Gadaleta purchased a Labrador Retriever from Sharene Greer Clark and Dan Clark of California.

During the time of the order, she used an alias name, claiming she was a private buyer, and ordered the animal as a co-owner for the dog to be restricted from breeding and used as a show dog; however, she kept it in her commercial dog breeding kennel.

A second search warrant was executed for Gadaleta's property on Wednesday, and the stolen Labrador was discovered among dozens of Labradors that she housed at the kennel.

Gadaleta was taken into custody and arraigned. She is currently being housed in the Carbon County Correctional Facility.

This incident stems from an investigation that began late last week.

On Sept. 23, state police issued a search warrant for Gadaleta's property after Cheri Conway of Klamath Falls, Oregon, contacted authorities because the checks Gadaleta sent her to pay for a pair of Labradors were bad.

In that police report, troopers said she used an alias, stating that she was a private buyer, to purchase the pair of Labrador Retrievers from Conway, the owner of Thornwood Labrador Retrievers.

As a result of the conditions observed at Gadaleta's commercial dog kennel last week, the Franklin Township Police Department has begun an investigation.

A call to the Franklin Township police this morning confirms that the investigation is continuing. No other details on the investigation were available as of press time.

Since Gadaleta's arrest last week, the Carbon County Animal Response Team; as well as area veterinarians and other animal organizations, have been working around the clock at the kennel, taking care of the animals and trying to identify them.

Donna Crum, Carbon CART coordinator, released a statement this morning, stating that a total of 101 Labrador Retrievers and six cats were being housed at the property on Pohopoco Drive in Franklin Township.

Of that total, 51 dogs have been owner surrendered by Gadaleta. Thirty nine were turned over to the Carbon County Friends of Animals and Cats Peek Rescue by the Pennsylvania SPCA because the two facilities are SPCA approved. The three dogs that belong to Conway and the Clarks were also returned to their owners. Two special needs dogs have been transported to veterinarians; the SPCA took an undisclosed number of dogs for the investigation; and 37 dogs were transported by members of the CART team today to various approved 501(c)(3) rescue shelters.

Crum said the remaining dogs at the kennel will be cared for by members of the CART team until they are transported from the property later this week.

"I've been on the scene since (last) Thursday," Crum said. "We have had help from Schuylkill CART, Lehigh Valley CART, the Tamaqua Area Animal Rescue, and other agencies. We have been extremely grateful that private citizens have come forward for adoption of these dogs."

She noted that she has received more than 270 adoption request calls since the rescue efforts began but said that the group will not be releasing these animals to private citizens because they have to go through rescue agencies and the proper channels. Once all dogs are cleared for adoption, CART will release the list of agencies that have the Labs for adoption.

"We appreciate that citizens have come forward for the animals," Crum said, "but there are 101 more dogs that are sitting in a shelter or rescue that need a loving home. If you don't get one of these dogs, think about adopting another shelter dog."

Crum added that during the rescue, Gadaleta's husband has been "100 percent cooperative in the efforts" removing the animals.

"His main concern is that all animals are removed from the property," she said.

The six cats that were on the property have also been transported to the SPCA.

This is not the first time Gadaleta has been in trouble with the law.

According to previous articles published in the TIMES NEWS, Gadaleta served numerous sentences for thefts by deception and forgery.

Most recently, Gadaleta served state prison time for taking two checks that belonged to a foreign exchange student who was staying at her home and cashed them for her own use. Prior to that, she served a sentence for using another person's name to secure credit cards, which she then used to purchase thousands of dollars in items from various stores.

Also, according to Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas records, Gadaleta was arrested and charged in Bradford County in 1997; and in Lehigh County in 2007.

More details on the Labrador rescue will be published in the TIMES NEWS as information becomes available.

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