Local News

July 15, 2012

Locals caution against dog transactions on Craigslist

Control Officer weary of online classified deals

PLATTSBURGH — When Jennifer Liberty suspected her 13-month-old son might be allergic to dogs, she decided it was time to find their golden Labrador retriever a new home. 

So when the Dannemora woman saw a posting on the online classifieds forum Craigslist indicating that a local person was looking for a free dog, Jennifer reached out to her.

Later that day, she and Bella met with the author of the Craigslist post, who went by the name Shawnee and, Jennifer said, Shawnee told her that her own dog had recently died.

“She tugged on my heartstrings,” Jennifer said. 

Under the impression that Bella was going to a loving home with a big backyard, Jennifer placed the dog with Shawnee. 


The very next day, a golden Lab named Bella was for sale in the Plattsburgh area on Craigslist for $50. The post instructed interested parties to contact a person named Shawnee.

Desperate to get the dog back from a person whom she no longer trusted, Jennifer and her sister-in-law, Jessica Liberty, immediately contacted the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, but were told nothing could be done since Jennifer had voluntarily given up the dog. 

And, Jennifer said, when she confronted Shawnee about the posting via text message, Shawnee denied that she was trying to sell Bella. 

But then, worried that Shawnee had not told the truth, Jessica responded to the Craigslist ad. Without disclosing her relationship to Jennifer, she expressed a desire to buy the pup.

Jessica said Shawnee was willing and accepted $25 for Bella.

The dog hadn’t received the best care, Jessica said, which furthered their dismay.

“Bella’s leash had been chewed through and retied, and she was nuts-acting, she was panting like crazy, and I just grabbed Bella ... and I headed back to the Jeep.” 

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