Feb 27, 2014 12:05 AM by Matthew Schwartz
TUCSON - They are two young mothers whose families suffered tragedy and trauma. They were strangers until an allegedly stolen dog brought them together, and caused more pain.
Denise and Jason Evans' five year old daughter Cassidy died of cancer in October. Then, the day after Valentine's Day, they say their dog Scrappy disappeared from the pen in front of the family's home in Vail.
Denise Evans told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "I was very upset, very hurt. My son (10 year old Jason Jr.) was hurt, he was wondering where the dog was at. I was very angry. I mean I can't believe people would do something like that."
Twenty miles north of the Evans' home, Dr. Stephanie Sirianni and her husband were looking for a new dog for their infant daughter, Poppy. The 19-month old is hard of hearing, and the family's 120-pound Newfoundland recently became aggressive with her and was re-homed. They saw a Pug for sale on Craigslist, and say that on Feb. 16th, the seller, who identified herself only as "April," brought the dog to the Siriannis' home. They fell in love with the Pug and paid $200 in cash for him. Stephanie says April told her the dog was three years old, but Stephanie had a feeling he was older.
Stephanie said, "After I had my suspicions that first night I tried to call her the next morning, asking where he went to the vet. And that's when she started kind of not answering me very much, and gave me this vet that he'd never been to."
The vet told Stephanie that the Pug was actually about five years old, and had a microchip. Soon after that, Denise Evans came to Stephanie's house to pick-up her dog, Scrappy, the dog that vanished from her home a day before he was sold to Stephanie.
Stephanie told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "I was upset for her (Denise Evans), I was upset for my daughter, because we had just gotten this dog that she loved and she just lost another dog a couple weeks ago. And here this woman now has disconnected her number; we can't get in touch with her."
Stephanie Emailed us Facebook photos of the woman she says sold her the Pug. On her Facebook page, the woman calls herself "Tychelle Coop." But court records show her real name is "April Tychelle Cooper."
The News 4 Tucson Investigators have learned there's a warrant out for the 27 year-old woman's arrest for Failure to Appear in Tucson City Court on Dec. 3, 2013, on six misdemeanor charges: For having three unlicensed dogs, all without a current rabies vaccination.
We found April Cooper outside her Tucson home.
We said to her, "We want to ask you a few questions. What happened to Scrappy, the black Pug that belongs to Denise Evans?" The man with Cooper answered, "We don't know what you're talking about."
We then asked Ms. Cooper, "Didn't you sell that dog to Stephanie Sirianni?" She replied, "No, I did not."
After Cooper replied briefly, the man who was with her covered her mouth, and she drove off.
Stephanie Sirianni said, "I know we're not getting our money back and we can't go back and do it over again with a different dog, but I hope she gets caught before somebody else goes through it. The money's gone for the dog, the dog's gone. It was a mess."
Sirianni is still out the $200 she says she paid Cooper for the dog, and has filed a complaint with the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
If Denise Evans' dog had not been microchipped, she knows she probably would have never seen him again.
Craigslist actually prohibits selling pets on their site. They do allow small re-homing fees but many people find ways around the rules.
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