WATERVLIET (WRGB) A Watervliet woman faces multiple charges, accused of posing as an employee of an area cat rescue and selling kittens that died soon after under suspicious circumstances.
An investigation by the Watervliet Police Department's Animal Control Officer found that Samantha Valentine, 29, had been posing as an employee of Kitten Angels, when instead she was actually trying to start her own adoption business. The investigation found Valentine had sold kittens that had never been checked by a veterinarian. The investigation also found that Valentine had provided buyers with fraudulent documents, taken from Kitten Angels, that she did not have permission to disperse.
Police said that at one point, Valentine did have permission from Kitten Angels to foster kittens, but never had the right to sell cats or kittens through the organization. Her right to foster had been permanently revoked following earlier incidents.
With the help of Kitten Angels, all 12 of the kittens remaining in Valentine's residence were removed without incident. Under a court order, Valentine was required to surrender all the remaining animals in the residence, including but not limited to two dogs. The animals have been removed to Mohawk Hudson Humane Society for safe-keeping.
Valentine was arraigned on Dec. 5, and charged with Possessing a Forged Instrument in the 2nd degree (D Felony), Forgery in the 2nd degree (D Felony), Scheme to Defraud in the 2nd degree (A Misdemeanor), Torture/injure/not feed animal (A Misdemeanor) and Sale/exposing deceased animal (Unclassified Misdemeanor). Valentine was arraigned on the above listed charges and released to Albany County Probation with the condition she surrender her animals for safe keeping during the course of her criminal procedure.
Police Chief Anthony W. Geraci said, "On behalf of the Watervliet Police Department we would like to thank our Animal Control Officer, PTL Nehill Danbury, for his thorough investigation into this matter which resulted in potentially saving the lives of a number of animals. We would also like to thank Mohawk Hudson Humane Society and "Kitten Angels" for their cooperation and assistance in the investigation which had a direct impact on our ability to bring the suspect to justice. Watervliet Police Department takes all complaints of animal cruelty very seriously until they are properly investigated and a just outcome is reached. Please contact our police department if there is a potential animal cruelty case you are aware of that you believe needs to be investigated criminally (518) 270-3891."