Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New York: Cassandra Blake, 23, stole a dog from the boarding facility she worked at and flipped it on Craigslist, say police

NEW YORK -- An employee of a Penfield pet center has been charged with the theft of Tessa, a three-year-old Goldendoodle.

Monroe County sheriff's deputies said Cassandra Blake, 23, of Sodus, Wayne County, has been charged with taking the dog and selling it on Craigslist. She faces charges of fourth-degree grand larceny and stealing a companion animal.

Tessa went missing from TheraVet Acres Rehabilitation and Fitness on Friday. She originally was believed to have run away from the boarding facility, which is on Kennedy Road in the northern part of Penfield.

The pet center turned to its own Facebook page to search for the missing dog, providing updates and saying it would install extra gates and reinforce locks to prevent animals from escaping.

On Facebook, TheraVet said, "Cassandra had no priors to this event, and even an extensive background check would not have revealed anything to us."

"We got a weird Craigslist message that indicated that Tessa, or a dog portrayed to be Tessa, was lying by the side of the road, bleeding," says Edward Turkowski. "People pick the dog up and as they drove away, the dog expired and they took it home and buried it -- that sounded very odd to us."

The Turkowskis followed their gut and kept looking for Tessa. The business manager at Theravet Acres says, after investigating, they believe someone stole Tessa, and sold her to a Canandaigua woman.

At the same time, staff members began working to track down various sightings of Tessa and on Tuesday she was reunited with her family.

That woman, who heard about the missing dog, realized it matched the description of the dog she just bought on Craigslist, and contacted employees at Theravet.

Meanwhile, Blake was being held in the Monroe County Jail after failing to post bail, which had been set at either $240 cash bail or a $500 bond.

After Blake was arrested, TheraVet Acres Rehabilitation and Fitness posted on Facebook:

We have been cleared by Monroe County Sherriff Department to provide more information on Tessa’s kidnapping.

Following leads provided by the woman who purchased Tessa, Cassandra Blake has been arrested on charges of grand larceny and kidnapping of a companion animal. Cassandra was a new employee here, making the kidnapping of Tessa possible. We are working continuously with sheriff and SPCA investigators. Cassandra had no priors to this event, and even an extensive background check would not have revealed anything to us.

We are continuing to plan ways of increasing security here at Thera-Vet Acres as well as possibly changes to our hiring processes. Additional security cameras have already been installed in every building. Although our current hiring process is extensive, we will be re-vamping the process to prevent any recurrence in the future.

We are deeply saddened that this turned out to be one of our own staff members. All of us at TVA are currently in shock that someone working with us could have hurt a clients family, our family, and our community.

On Nov 1st, Dr. Kristin Browne at TheraVet Acres Rehabilitation and Fitness posted:


Two simple words received in a text message that rippled thru my body and brought me to my knees. The end of a four day horror story that I thought had no way of ending in happiness. But it did; goodness prevailed. Two words that came, literally in the nick of time as my heart and soul had hit rock bottom. Two words that meant Tessa was coming home.

I cannot express the heartbreak and agony that those four days were for me. I had let Tessa down, I had let her owners down, and I had let my clients, my staff, and the people whom had trusted us down. Each day brought more twists and turns to this story that was just so hard to even comprehend. And then to have it finalized with the betrayal of one of our “own”. No words.

(Democrat and Chronicle - Oct 26, 2016)

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