DC police arrested and charged two people with second degree theft and animal cruelty last night. It’s the latest development in the case of Godiva, a lab/pit bull mix at the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA), whose three-and-a-half-week-old puppies were stolen in late August.
At the time they went missing, Godiva and her seven puppies had been living in Northeast DC with Zenobia Fisher, who was arrested yesterday. While Fisher was the dogs’ foster parent, a joint investigation by HRA and DC police found that she had given HRA a false name and address. Consequently, as soon as she left the shelter with the eight dogs, HRA’s foster team was “unable to make contact with her despite numerous attempts.”
Soon after, HRA recovered Godiva, who was found tied to a pole in Northeast DC, as well as one of her puppies, Glitter, following a search and seizure warrant at Fisher’s address. Having uncovered Fisher’s real identity, the investigation found the she and Alphonso Allen, who was also arrested, had sold at least four of the puppies to unsuspecting people.
“We’ve had this foster program for more than a decade and foster thousands of animals per year into homes,” said Chris Schindler, vice president of field services at the Humane Rescue Alliance, back in September. “That’s really what helps our life saving work, and we’ve never come across this situation.”
After HRA put out a $7,500 reward for each of the stolen puppies, four people came forward saying they had unwittingly bought them from Allen and Fisher. Two of the seven puppies remain missing and the $7,500 reward is still on the table for anyone with information confirming that they are safe.
The pups, now approaching 10 weeks old, will soon be mature enough to be separated from their mother. Three of them—Link, Apollo, and Oli—will be reunited with the families that had originally purchased them. The other two, Glitter and Aries, as well as their mother Godiva, will soon be available for adoption here. HRA says it will update the site once the three become available.
“From teaching the puppies how to care for themselves to showing them how to socialize, [Godiva’s] maternal guidance has been a crucial part of their puppyhood,” wrote HRA in a press release. “… These interactions are critical to the puppies’ development, as they are practicing important behaviors and communication skills that will follow them into adulthood. We are extremely grateful for the precious time this family has had together.”