Calif. Animal Control Employee Accused of Stealing Dog

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. --

A Kern County Animal Control employee was arrested Wednesday after an English bulldog was reported stolen.

On Jan. 18, Kern County Animal Control Division Manager Kim Mullins said she notified the Kern County Sheriff’s Office of the possible theft of a dog by an employee of Animal Control.

Mullins told deputies she was notified by a local veterinarian on Jan. 8 that the employee, 35-year-old animal care worker Jennifer Hall, had discussed removing the dog from Animal Control without going through the proper adoption procedure.

The dog, a female English bulldog with an estimated value of $3,000, had been taken to the veterinarian by Hall in May 2010 to be examined for pregnancy, the KCSO reported.

"She made statements to the veterinarian that led the vet to believe (Hall) had taken the dog from the shelter illegally," said KCSO Sr. Deputy Ray Pruit.

The dog gave birth to at least two puppies at Bakersfield Veterinary Hospital on June 17.

In January, the veterinarian contacted Animal Control to report what Hall said. Detectives said they immediately began an investigation into the theft of the dog.

Detectives said they learned that the dog had been brought to the county animal shelter on April 19 and Hall had processed the intake of the dog and photographs were taken.

On April 25, the dog was reported stolen from the shelter in what was determined to be a suspicious burglary because there were no signs of forced entry. The burglary was reported to the Bakersfield Police Department.

On Jan. 19, detectives said they served a search warrant at Hall’s residence in the 9200 block Seabeck Avenue.

Detectives said they located the dog which had been reported stolen, as well as information which led them to the recovery of two of the puppies which had been born on June 17. Those puppies had been given to relatives.

On Wednesday, Hall was arrested by sheriff’s detectives on charges of felony grand theft of a dog and possession of stolen property.

"I think it's crazy because she's an Animal Control worker. She's held to a different standard than everybody else especially concerning animals, especially theft," said Halls neighbor Anita Williams.

"Our standards are higher and if proven this is an employee that does not have a position with the department," said Matt Constantine who overseas Animal Control.

Hall has been placed on administrative leave.

The dog and the two puppies recovered during the investigation were placed in protective care.

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