Police: Woman Loses 9 Dogs in Animal Rescue Fraud Probe

1 02 2011

Can someone please tell me how things like this continue to happen?  This post is being reprinted from The Shelby Star out of Shelby, North Carolina.

SHELBY — Authorities say a woman who claims to rescue unwanted animals is doing more harm than good.

Lisa Lewis Hendren, 26, was charged Sunday after police say she posed as the head of a nonprofit called Liz and Lizards in order to get nine dogs.

But it’s not the first time Hendren’s love for animals have put her at the core of a multi-county investigation. Her legal troubles span at least two years.

 “She has sold puppies, claiming they are humane society puppies and that she is foster caring for us,” said Marguerite Mebane, president of the Cleveland County Humane Society. “Many have been sick and some have died soon after they have been purchased from her.”

Craigslist ad sought adoption

 On Saturday, two men from Gaston County came to Shelby to drop off nine mixed-breed dogs to Hendren’s home on Dodd Street, believing they were placing them in a good home, police said. The men posted an ad on Craigslist earlier that week stating they needed to place the dogs because they could no longer care for them, according to police.

“They were reaching out for some type of animal rescue organization to take the dogs,” said Shelby Police Officer Jake Zaludek. “Their biggest concern was that they didn’t want them to go to a kill shelter.”

But when the men met Hendren at her Dodd Street home with the dogs, food, shelter and fencing, they grew suspicious, Zaludek said. They eventually left, but had concerns about the dogs’ welfare and contacted police the next day, according to the report.

 27-dog capacity

Hendren’s boyfriend, Demario Ross, said their home is one of many foster homes under the nonprofit Liz and Lizards. Ross said they take in unwanted animals with a maximum capacity of 27 dogs.

 “This man said he wanted these dogs to have a good home,” he said.  “We wanted to provide them with a good home.”

Hendren remains in jail under a $25,000 secured bond.

Ross said Hendren “loves animals to death” and agrees to take in and care for breeds that most people don’t want.

 Dogs still in need of homes

Hendren’s claims of being a foster home for the Humane Society angers Mebane, who has worked in the business in for 20 years.

“We work so hard to have a good reputation of placing healthy animals,” Mebane said. “We are regulated by the state and licensed by the state. They are high standards of care.”

Police were able to return the nine dogs to the men on Saturday. Mebane said she has been in contact with the Humane Society of the United States, which is on standby to help place those dogs into good homes.

 “We would love to be able to get a hold of these animals and get them placed into rescue programs,” she said.

 Reach reporter Olivia Neeley at 704-669-3332  

Hendren has history of animal complaints, investigations

Several complaints have been filed with Cleveland County Animal Control in reference to Lisa Hendren selling “very sick dogs,” according to a police report. In one case, an animal died an hour after the adoption took place, according to the report.

  One woman told police that Hendren advertised full-blooded black Labrador puppies on Craigslist. When the hopeful buyer made the trip in March from Charlotte to adopt, the puppy was not the same one that was in the photograph online, according to the report.

  The buyer told police the puppies were in very poor health. The woman bought two puppies and took them to her veterinarian for treatment, but they remained in poor health.

  In December 2010, Hendren was charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals after police say she wounded and starved a horse.

Animal control officers got a complaint about the horse not being cared for properly, said County Health Services Coordinator Sam Lockridge.

“The horse kept wrapping itself in the chain that it was tethered with, causing injury to its hooves,” Lockridge said. “The animal did not have adequate food or water.”

The horse was seized, but died the next day, according to police.

In June 2009, a state employee found a flier in Gaston County that advertised vaccinations offered by Hendren, state investigators have said. But Hendren moved out of the county and disappeared until investigators learned she resurfaced in Cleveland County the following year.

Police arrested and charged Hendren with two counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license in both Cleveland and Gaston counties in April 2010 after a state undercover investigation.

Authorities said Hendren ran an illegal animal rescue group, giving vaccines without a license. They also found 21 dogs, 11 belonging to Hendren, according to police.

State investigators said at the time, they didn’t know how many animals she vaccinated over a two-year period or adopted out because Hendren was so mobile.

Gaston County Animal Control has also investigated multiple complaints against Hendren — four of which resulted in civil fines for failing to comply with the county’s ordinances, according to previous reports. Those fines amounted to more than $2,000.

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8 responses

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[…] Police: Woman Loses 9 Dogs in Animal Rescue Fraud Probe « Animal … On Saturday, two men from Gaston County came to Shelby to drop off nine mixed-breed dogs to Hendren's home on Dodd Street, believing they were placing them in a good home, police said. One woman told police that Hendren advertised full- blooded black Labrador puppies on Craigslist. When the hopeful buyer made the trip in March from Charlotte to adopt, the puppy was not the same one that was in the photograph online, according to the report. […]

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2 02 2011
Cute Animal Lover

This is sad news, but good thing the place is being shut down. Kudos to those 2 guys who contacted the police! I’ll be other people who dropped off animals were suspicious also, but never picked up the phone.

2 02 2011
animalrescuesuperhighway

You are so right! Too many people don’t want to become involved until it’s “safe” to do so.

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