Four people were arrested and 22 dogs confiscated in Fairfield County after police received reports of credit card fraud and animal abuse.
The case began in late February when the Stamford Police Department investigated several incidents of veterinary services that were paid for with fraudulent credit cards, said Lieutenant Nicholas Montagnese.
During this same time, the Stamford Police Department received community complaints that numerous dogs were being housed and possibly neglected at 227 Belltown Road, Montagnese said.
Based on the complaints, Stamford animal control and police investigators conducted an investigation. As a result, on Friday, March 5, the department executed a search warrant at 227 Belltown Road.
During the execution of the warrant, 20 puppies were seized. The puppies were then brought to a local veterinary hospital for examination and treatment. In addition, two other puppies, which were owned by the suspects, were later turned over to the Stamford Police, he added.
Following the warrant search, one suspect, Nygel Joseph, age 25, of Stamford, was arrested for forgery.
The Stamford Police Department Financial Crimes Unit continued the investigation with numerous search warrants on phone records, bank accounts, and credit card accounts.
The evidence obtained led to arrest warrants for three more individuals including Paul Joseph, age 23, of Stamford; Ebony Ayala, age 23, of Mount Vernon, New York, and Devon Sherman, age 26, of Peekskill, New York, Montagnese said.
All were charged with:
- Conspiracy at larceny
- Conspiracy at the illegal use of a payment card
- Animal neglect
- Importing dogs without a health certificate.
Joseph was additionally charged with theft of a payment card while Ayala and Devon Sherman were additionally charged with trafficking in personal identifying information.
They are being held on a $200,000 court set bond.
The 22 puppies are currently being cared for and are in good health, police said.
The investigation is continuing.
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