Former Griffin Pond Animal Shelter Bookkeeper Charged with Theft

SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- More bad news for an animal shelter in Lackawanna County that's been hit with issue after issue for more than a year.

Now authorities say the former bookkeeper for the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter is facing theft charges, accused of ripping off thousands from the non-profit.

The former bookkeeper at the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter near Clarks Summit faces theft charges for allegedly stealing $12,631 from the non-profit.

The Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office says an audit done last year discovered the missing funds but the Griffin Pond administrators at the time never told authorities.

“They failed to report the theft to law enforcement and we find particularly egregious,” said ADA Judy Price.

New administrators told the DA's office about the theft this past September.

Court papers show that a former bookkeeper at Griffin Pond, Kolina Pagano, admitted to taking the money between December 2016 and February 2017.

Outside PetSmart in Dickson City, pet owners say she should be ashamed of what she did.

“They're entrusted to take care of the shelter and taking care of the shelter, you're taking care of the animals,” said Sammy Vitris from Scranton. “That's just something that's just terrible.”

Griffin Pond has endured several issues over the past couple of years.

In August of last year, the executive director resigned after allegations of mismanagement.

Two months later, its humane officer was fired.

Then in September of this year, skeletal remains of dogs and cats were found in a pond at the shelter.

The DA's office investigated the discovery and says no criminal charges will be filed for the dead animals.

The DA's office credits the new administration at the shelter for notifying authorities about the theft, as well as the discovery of the skeletal remains.

“The new administration of Griffin Pond is working with us,” said Price. “They alerted us to this theft, they cooperated in the examination of the animals.”

The current executive director at Griffin Pond, Ashley Wolo, released this statement about the alleged theft:

“The current administration and board were not a part of this situation back when all this took place. Due the nature of the matter, we turned it over the district attorney's office as soon as we discovered it.”

As for Kolina Pagano, she is free tonight on $10,000 bail.

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