Stamford police: 4 people arrested in connection to seizure of 22 puppies from "bad conditions," financial crimes

Stamford police say four people have been arrested in connection to financial crimes and the seizure of 22 puppies living in what they call bad conditions.
The puppies have been in city custody since early March and are gradually getting healthier.
"In February, we got a call from a local vet hospital that they had seen a pattern of people coming in from October 2020 to February, bringing in dogs, malnourished dogs and using various names and phone numbers and then leaving, paying the bill, which ultimately bounced, with stolen credit cards," says Stamford Police Department Investigator Mike Stempien.
An investigation led to a home on Belltown Road, and police got a search warrant.
"In the house, we found 20 dogs in not very nice conditions of the house, as well as multiple pieces of evidence that was related to credit card fraud and identity theft," says Stempien.
Police say they also found a dead dog in the trash. They arrested Nygel Joseph and charged him with forgery as they continued to investigate.
The city took all the dogs in the home, along with two more still at an animal hospital.
"Several of the dogs were badly matted, feces in their fur. Some of the dogs were sick," says Stamford animal control officer Tilford Cobb.
Police say the dogs were bought from breeders across the country using stolen credit cards and then sold out of the Stamford home. They just arrested Paul Joseph, Ebony Ayala and Devon Sherman on multiple charges including animal neglect, importing dogs without a certificate, larceny and racketeering.
Stamford Mayor David Martin checked in on the puppies Wednesday. After almost two months in city care, they're doing much better and are ready to head to foster homes soon.
Local group Red Leash Rescue already has that arranged. The question of permanent ownership will be decided in court.
"They are actually evidence, and the court case has just begun," says Stempien.
The puppies include Frenchies, Doodles, a dachshund, Shih-Poo and a Rottweiler.
Police say Nygel Joseph will be charged with the same charges as the other suspects next week.