California Volunteer Steals Puppy from Santa Cruz SPCA

Of all the things shelters should have to worry about, dog theft by volunteers shouldn't be one of them. Thanks to San Jose Mercury News...

Of all the things shelters should have to worry about, dog theft by volunteers shouldn’t be one of them.

Thanks to San Jose Mercury News for this article.

Volunteer steals dog from Santa Cruz SPCA on her first day
By Jennifer Squires
Article Launched: 07/05/2007

A woman volunteering at the Santa Cruz Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals apparently stole a puppy the first day she helped out at the group’s shelter on 7th Avenue, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The woman told SPCA staff she wanted to be a volunteer and gave them references, then was allowed to walk Natasha, a 7-month-old mixed breed dog, authorities said.

But the volunteer and Natasha hadn’t returned after an hour, the usual amount of time volunteers take the dogs out for, and staff at the shelter got worried.

“We started to look around, thinking she’d taken her to the beach,” SPCA Director Lisa Carter said.

On Tuesday, they reported Natasha stolen by the woman, who gave a false name.

The dog had been at the shelter since June 21, had recently been spayed and was up for adoption.

“She had quite a bit of interest in her,” Carter said.

Dog theft is “very unusual” for the shelter, but does happen, Carter said. About one dog a year is taken from the facility, she said.

“In the past we’ve found the dogs,” Carter said.

The SPCA is offering a reward for Natasha’s return. She is 18 inches tall, weighs about 22 pounds, black with a white stomach and was last seen wearing a teal and purple collar.

The woman is white, in her 20s with dark blonde hair that was short in the front and long in the back, authorities said. She wore dirty, tattered clothes.

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