A Nova Scotia woman accused of stealing two dogs she was dog sitting for a woman in New Brunswick and then selling them has now been charged.
Gail Benoit is charged with fraud, theft under $5,000 and identity fraud.
Const. William Creamer said police allege Benoit created a false identity to both steal and then sell dogs belonging to Cassie Craft of New Brunswick.
Last November, Craft said she was looking for someone to look after her two white boxers, Diamond and Bently.
She told CBC’s Information Morning in a January interview that a woman from Waverley, N.S. named "Ashley" responded to her ad online looking for a dog sitter.
"She seemed great, she told me she had a summer home with a fenced-in backyard — basically everything I wanted to hear. I probably should have know that it was too good to be true but I gave her the benefit of the doubt and I believed her," said Craft.
Craft said she dropped the dogs off in mid-November. Not long afterward, she said Benoit a.k.a. Ashley, stopped responding to her emails.
"She didn’t answer the phone a couple of times, she didn't answer the door when my dad showed up a couple of times and then she stopped replying to my emails," said Craft.
Craft then posted an ad on Kijiji saying her dogs had been stolen, in the hopes that someone could give her information.
She said someone directed her to an ad advertising her two boxers for sale, with the phone number, Craft recognized as belonging to "Ashley."
"I found out that it wasn’t Ashley, that her name was Gail Benoit and that she was convicted before for animal abuse," she said.
Craft said she later received an email from the people who bought her dogs, allegedly, from Benoit.
"I told them the lady who they bought [the dogs] off of, they weren’t hers to sell," said Craft.
Craft was reunited with her dogs in late January.
She said she was very clear with Benoit at the time that she was asking for a dog sitter, not giving the dogs up.
This is not Benoit’s first run in with the law. In January of 2009, she and Dana Bailey were found guilty of two counts of animal cruelty for selling sick and malnourished dogs.
Const. Creamer warns people looking to buy a pet to make sure to buy from reputable breeders and to do proper research beforehand.
Benoit is scheduled to appear in Bridgewater court on May 8.