An owner’s dog is safe at home after the pet was stolen by an animal control officer and tracked down to another state, a New York sheriff’s office said.
Scott Casterline, 51, of Lindley, was arrested Oct. 26 after an investigation into his claims that the dog died, according to a news release from the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office.
McClatchy News contacted the sheriff’s office for more information on Oct. 26 and didn’t receive an immediate response.
Casterline came across Hope, the owner’s 9-year-old Yorkshire terrier, after she was found outside and transferred to the Chemung County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard told WENY-TV.
He was “acting as a public servant” when he took Hope, sold her and wrongly reported her death, according to the sheriff’s office’s release. Pawz & Purrz Animal Rescue, a local nonprofit organization, lists Casterline as a dog control officer.
It’s unclear when Casterline is accused of stealing the dog, but Hope was believed to be dead for about five months, according to an Oct. 26 Facebook post from the dog’s owner, Jeannine Staller.
“We are finally able to share the news with all of you that our beloved dog, Hope, who was presumed dead 5 months ago is actually alive and back home!!” Staller wrote.
Hope was traced to Ohio, where she was recovered and returned to her owner, according to the sheriff’s office.
Casterline is facing charges of official misconduct, misapplication of property and false written statement, the release said.
Allard told WENY-TV that while Hope was missing, the dog was in the care of an Ohio family — and they were wholly unaware she had an owner who was missing her and that she had been stolen.
Corning City officials said Casterline was contracted by the city as a dog officer and he resigned from his position a few months ago, according to WENY-TV.
“We want to thank this whole community for their support and continued determination in seeking justice for Hope and for the Sheriff’s Dept in finding the truth and bringing our Hope back home to us alive!!” Staller wrote in her Facebook post.
Steuben County is about 105 miles southeast of Buffalo.
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