IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — A Seal Beach woman faces several felony and misdemeanor charges of crimes against animals for allegedly selling a sick puppy that died a week after it was purchased by an Irvine family.
Megan Ann Hoechstetter, 42, is believed to have set up Pawlosophy, a fake rescue organization, and using it to sell animals possibly obtained from Mexico that had not received proper healthcare, Irvine police spokeswoman Kim Mohr said.
She was arrested Wednesday with six puppies in her possession, Mohr said.
Irvine police’s Animal Services officers found another 13 puppies at the Cypress hotel where Hoechstetter was staying, according to Mohr. All of the animals had to be taken to the Irvine Animal Care Center and are not available for adoption due to their age and fragile health.
The Pawlosophy website – which remains online – lists adoption fees from $150 for cats and kittens up to $375 for puppies up to 6 months old. “Pawlosophy, Inc.” claims to be a non-profit organization with pending 501(c)(3) status run entirely by volunteers, but the site does not include any phone number or physical address.
Irvine Police Department’s Animal Services Unit offered the following tips for purchasing or rescuing an animal.
- Be cautious of groups or organizations who only communicate with you online.
- Reputable rescue organizations will always want to visit your home for an inspection; be wary of anyone who wants to meet you in a parking lot or other public place.
- Always request to see veterinary records for the animal you wish to adopt. Make sure the puppy is current on vaccinations and has been examined by a state-licensed veterinarian. Additionally, make sure the paperwork you are shown matches the animal you are adopting.
- Never buy a puppy who is advertised as “saved from another country.”
- Watch out for organizations that request extra donations that weren’t initially disclosed.
- Don’t buy or rescue a puppy younger than 8 weeks old.
- Consider adopting from a local animal shelter, such as the Irvine Animal Care Center, or a humane society. Such agencies are required to provide medical attention and veterinary care for their animals.
KCAL9’s Jennifer Kastner on Friday night spoke to Wendy Acton, a Cypress woman who adopted a puppy from Hoechstetter.
Acton’s 6-month-old Gracie is the picture of health. Now.
Acton says Gracie turned violently ill hours after being adopted.
“She got sick on me in the car going home. that night. She didn’t want to eat. More diarrhea and vomiting. We put her in a little bathroom with everything and she was lethargic and I was like ‘I don’t know if she’d going to make it.'” Actor recalls.
She said she spent about $400 adopting Gracie. After she took her to the hospital for a full exam, Acton said Gracie tested positive for a deadly disease.
“They did a fecal test,” Acton says, “And it came back positive for parvo. So, we were like..devastated, I know what parvo is. And how expensive it can be to treat it.”
More than $500 later, Gracie got a clean bill of health. For Acton, though, it was never about the money.
“She was doing this to these puppies. If you’re gonna take these puppies in, you gotta take care of them. And to adopt out a puppy with parvo it’s just awful.”
Anyone with information about this case can contact Animal Services Supervisor Kim Cherney at (949) 724-7091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.