A couple in Pennsylvania is facing criminal charges for selling their neighbor’s lost puppy on Craigslist instead of returning it, according to police.
Police in Leechburg, Pa., said two dogs, a Rottweiler and a golden retriever mix, wandered onto the property of Scott Duff, 41, and Roxanne Duff, 38, on September 3.
After discovering the animals, police say, Roxanne Duff left a phone message for police saying she was unsure what to do with them.
Leechburg Police Officer Christopher Laird returned Roxanne Duff’s message, recommending that she contact either an animal shelter or a local dog kennel, according to a police report. He told her he would contact her if they find dogs’ owner. During that call, Roxanne Duff allegedly told Laird that the Rottweiler puppy had run away since her initial report.
Later in the evening, Laird received a call from the dogs’ owner, Shawn Lerch, who said Duff had returned his golden retriever but not the Rottweiler. Lerch said he believed his dog was still in the area and suspected the Duffs were keeping him, despite what he had been told.
When Laird knocked on his neighbor's door, Scott Duff answered and allegedly denied having the puppy. The next day, Lerch called police again, saying he believed the dog was still at the Duffs' house, according to the report.
This time, police chief Michael Diebold went to the Duffs' home, where he found the couple's five-year-old son and his babysitter. According to the police report, the child said, “his mommy had given the dog to a woman from the Internet."
Diebold contacted Scott Duff again and told him what his child had said. Duff told him he had no knowledge of this and said he only knew that the puppy had escaped from his yard. A short time later, Duff called police back and allegedly admitted that his wife had placed an ad and sold the dog on Craigslist for $50.
After police located the woman who bought the Rottweiler, who said she was unaware of the theft. Roxanne Duff went to Pittsburgh, where the woman lived, to retrieve the dog, and it was returned to Lerch.
Police charged the Duffs last week with not making a reasonable effort to return lost property, two counts of conspiracy and false reporting.
The couple is due in court for a preliminary hearing on October 31.
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