Created: December 16, 2019 06:51 PM
WATERVLIET -- 29-year-old Samantha Valentine of Watervliet is facing charges including forgery and animal abuse.
Police say she posed as a worker for an animal organization called Kitten Angels, and used fake documents to sell kittens.
"Someone from Kitten Angels actually got a hold of us," said Watervliet Police Officer Austin McGuire. "And advised us that there was someone that she believed was fraudulently using their documentation to sell kittens."
Police say Valentine was actually trying to start her own adoption business and sold at least two kittens that were ill and then died.
Krystallynn DeLuke is an animal lover who adopted one of those kittens. She said her cousin got one after making contact with Valentine through Facebook.
They thought everything was legitimate because they thought Valentine was with Kitten Angels.
Both women paid $40, and got paperwork that appeared to show the cats had been checked out by a vet.
"I thought I was just doing a good deed and giving a kitten a loving home, but unfortunately I got scammed and a poor little kitten- two- lost their lives," said DeLuke.
Krystallynn's kitten Rosii died in five hours. Her cousin's cat Zoe got sick and died within a day.
DeLuke says it was heartbreaking to see them suffer, especially for something they think could have been treatable.
"It's really mind blowing. I couldn't believe it. I was hysterically crying," she said. "My daughter had already met the kitten, seen the kitten, she asks about the kitten still. So I mean it's very hard on us. Even though it was only a couple hours, the kitten still meant everything to us."
Police are concerned that there may be other victims out there.
"The two kittens that we know of that were purchased both died, so there's obviously a concern that those kittens are out there possibly spreading whatever it is that they may have contracted while in her possession to other animals in another household somewhere," said Officer McGuire.
Valentine had once fostered cats for Kitten Angels, but the group had severed ties with her.
Her 12 remaining kittens were seized and are now being cared for at Kitten Angels.
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