Dogged detective work lead two patrolmen to more than just a stolen purse. They discovered two emaciated pitbulls, now recovering and named after Gloucester fishing vessels.
The saga started earlier this month when a woman reported her purse, containing $5,000, had been stolen when she left it in a shopping cart at Shaw’s on Railroad Avenue.
Patrolman Scott Duffany reviewed security tapes, and recognized the woman taking the purse from the carriage.
He and Patrolman Heath Mosley went to the woman’s apartment to question her, and when she let them in, they discovered a home in complete disarray and the dogs in squalid cages, according to police reports.
They called animal control officer Jamie Levie, who removed the dogs from the home.
After 12 days of slow rehabilitation at Cape Ann Veterinary Hospital and Cape Ann Animal Aid, Mary Lou Mariganis of Gloucester, who has spent most of the past decade rescuing dogs, took the pair to the Fitchburg animal shelter, where they were given new names, and a second chance.
The shelter staff renamed the dogs after two Gloucester fishing vessels lost at sea. They named the male Sigfrid, after the first recorded ship lost in 1900, and the female Andrea Gail, after the vessel lost with all hands during the “Perfect Storm” in 1991.
“They’re already bouncing back,” said Mariganis.
She said seeing the dogs playing in Fitchburg was heartwarming, especially since she didn’t know how long it had been since they’d been able to do so. Sigfrid and
a Gail are still in rehabilitation and have a way to go before they’ll be ready for adoption.
Mariganis runs an agency that networks shelters and rescue efforts that handle tougher dogs such as pit bulls. She started Animal Rescue Connections in May, and has moved 50 dogs since. There’s a real need, she said, in finding homes for such breeds as pitbulls in the state.
“They have really limited options because of the myths out there about them,” Mariganis stated.
While Levie didn’t return phone calls, his report, filed Friday, said he found the dogs in “very poor living conditions.”
“Very special care was taken of the dogs, as there was a concern for their liver and intestinal issues while they were in such an emaciated state,” Levie’s report states.
Levie’s report states that he’s not done with the incident yet. He reported that he is investigating and may file animal abuse charges when he finishes. Police Chief Mike Lane didn’t return a phone call seeking comment Friday.
While who owned Sigfrid and Andrea Gail before they where removed from 26 Prospect St. is unclear, police have charged the residents in the purse theft.
Kaitlyn-Rae Delong, 21, at first told Duffany and Mosley that she had gone to Shaw’s to cash a check and denied taking the purse, according to police reports. But soon after, police say, Delong told them she stole the purse.
Police arrested her on charge
s of larceny and receiving stolen property. Her boyfriend, Joshua Hopkinson, 22, also of 26 Prospect St., was arrested on an active warrant and also charged with receiving stolen property.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.