Monday, August 9, 2010

Accused swindler in doghouse over animal abuse case


The woman accused of swindling thousands of dollars while promoting the Queens film industry last year was collared upstate last week for hoarding dozens of dogs she fraudulently obtained from local animal shelters, officials said.

Marie Castaldo, 52, was busted in the small town of Shandaken last Thursday with a stash of about 48 emaciated canines after a year-long investigation by the Ulster County SPCA, an official said.

"These poor dogs came to us in such bad shape," said UCSPCA executive director Brian Shapiro.

"I think [the shelters] were under the impression that [the dogs] were being rescued from being euthanized," Shapiro said. "They were scammed."

It was not immediately clear what Castaldo intended to do with all of the neglected pooches, but she was recently spotted selling some of the animals in the parking lot of a local supermarket.

"On the face of it, these were noble acts," Shapiro said of the efforts to sell the dogs to good homes. "But behind the scenes it was a nightmare."..." More

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