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By Rick Pezzullo
The owner and founder of a non-profit dog rescue organization in Mohegan Lake pled guilty last week to stealing nearly $18,000 from the group.
According to Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah, Lisa Marie Birdsall, 56, of Yorktown, admitted on March 23 that between January and December 2020, she stole $17,956 from money that was donated to Recycled Paws Rescue for the care of animals and used the money for her own personal purposes.
As part of her agreement to pleading guilty to grand larceny in the fourth degree, a felony, and petit larceny, a misdemeanor, Birdsall will be required to pay full restitution for the stolen funds to another organization that cares for animals. She is scheduled to be sentenced on March 22, 2023.
The SPCA of Westchester’s Humane Law Enforcement Unit arrested Birdsall on July 13, 2021, following a joint investigation with District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau.
According to its website, Recycled Paws Rescue, Inc., which was started in 2017, rescued dogs “from all over the world and all walks of life. From orphaned puppies, to abandoned pregnant mothers, to deserted senior dogs, and more.”
“Our goal is to provide every rescued pup with a loving forever home. We have amazing volunteers for all surrounding counties who help us provide temporary or sometimes permanent homes to our rescued pups! We save all breeds it doesn’t matter if they are big or small, Chihuahua to fluffy Newfoundland’s and everything in between! Many were abandoned at high kill shelters, some were turned in by owners who could not properly care for them, and others we rescued from adds online such as craigslist. Regardless of their past, our mission is to provide a happy home where each dog is a well-loved member of the family!”