Couple learns the hard way: backyard breeders and a wolf in sheep’s clothing
By all accounts, Cindy is a decent person. She’s a loving wife and mother, a doting grandmother, a hard worker, a good friend and co-worker, and she loves animals. She’s had pets all her life and treats them as family members. They share her home, sleep in her bed, and flourish within her family unit.
Two years ago Cindy lost her beloved Shar Pei, Dori, when Dori was 12 years old. She’d been with Cindy since she was a pup. The loss was tragic for Cindy and it came at one of the worst times of her life. Cindy had been diagnosed with a rare form of brain tumor for which she underwent three surgeries.
Although Cindy struggled through her illness and loss of her beloved Dori, she concentrated on the furry kids she still had. There’s Echo, a McCaw that Cindy’s had for fourteen years; Hooch, a Shar Pei who would have been six in June of this year; and Kong, her other Shar Pei, one of Dori and Hooch’s pups that turned four this year; and a horse named Scout.
Just a few weeks before Hooch’s yearly check up, Cindy noticed that Hooch wasn’t eating well, was throwing up when he did eat, was less active than normal, and she noticed trembling in his hind quarters. Soon, Hooch refused to eat at all and began to lose control of his bowels.
By the weekend Hooch had become worse and it was obvious whatever was wrong with him was not a simple bug or minor ailment. With her regular vet out of the office, Cindy took Hooch to another vet who examined Hooch. The vet found a lump and Hooch’s blood-work wasn’t normal. There was to be a follow up on Monday for an x-ray but Hooch’s condition worsened overnight.
On Sunday, not wanting to wait even one more day to have Hooch seen again, Cindy took him to the local emergency vet. The diagnosis wasn’t good. His blood work was still off and the x-ray showed a tumor. Hooch was diagnosed with cancer.
Cindy and husband Danny were devastated. The emergency veterinarian suggested that Hooch be taken to Columbia University for surgery and made the calls to get Hooch in to be seen that day.
The couple took Hooch from the emergency veterinary clinic immediately, making the three hour drive to Columbia Missouri. The vets at Columbia could perform the almost $6000 surgery, a price the couple was more than willing to pay to get Hooch healthy.
Upon arrival at the University of Missouri Veterinarian Hospital, Hooch was examined thoroughly. Blood work, X-rays, and a physical exam were conducted. The couple expected to hear that Hooch would have surgery and go home with them for a normal recovery. But that’s not what happened.
The vets at Columbia told the couple that the cancer was not a matter of a few simple lumps. It had already spread into Hooch’s vital organs and a surgery could not save their beloved pet. The vet went on to explain that Hooch, who lay shaking in pain, would go downhill quickly. The cancer was aggressive and it was likely only a matter of days before Hooch would succumb to the disease.
Cindy fell apart as her husband tried desperately to comfort her.
At first, Cindy asked if there was any medication that Hooch could be given to relieve his pain so she could take him home and say her goodbyes, if only for a few days. The vet explained to the couple that medication was not the answer and that Hooch was truly suffering; his pain was real, and his quality of life would not improve even the slightest no matter what they did.
Cindy and Danny had a tough decision to make. Take Hooch home and allow him to suffer until he died on his own, or do what was best for him, not themselves, and give him the peaceful end he deserved.
Cindy lay in the floor beside Hooch as the veterinarian administered the euthanasia drugs. As she felt Hooch’s life slip away Cindy cried feeling as though she might never stop.
The trip home from Columbia to Jackson was one of the longest trips ever and full of sorrow and grief. The next few days were no better. Cindy mourned the death of her loyal companion; the pup she’d raised, who had slept with her and followed her everywhere she went. She cried until she felt as though she would dry completely up, and then she cried some more. Her husband comforted her and did everything he could for his wife but nothing seemed to work.
Cindy blamed herself for not realizing sooner that there had been something terribly wrong with Hooch. She blamed herself for not being able to save him.
Danny offered his wife what he felt might be a solution. With some hesitation the couple got online and started their search for Shar Pei puppies. Cindy had fancied the Shar Pei breed for as long as she could remember; their temperament, their look, and their overall nature which appealed to her.
It wasn’t long before they found a website called puppyfind.com that was full of pure bred puppies. The couple responded to two of the ads, left messages, and waited.
By Friday the call came from one of the breeders they had contacted and arrangements were made to meet the new puppy the following day. The pup was located in Memphis, TN, several hours from the couple’s home. He was adorable and appeared very healthy in the pictures. According to the ad, “Panama” was healthy, up to date on all of his shots, and registered. There was no kennel name listed on the ad, just a number, and a statement that no email correspondence would be acceptable.
The ad describes the pup, “beautifully wrinkled….you can’t keep your hands off this one…perfect Shar Pei head…meaty head…our puppies are raised in a clean healthy environment…raised in home…well socialized…mother dogs have litter once per year…certificate of health…”.
The cost, $800 and only cash would be accepted.
On Saturday the couple set out on their 200 mile journey, anxious to bring home their new family member. Not having purchased a pup in almost a decade the couple was not privy to the evil that hides in the shadows of today’s animal businesses. They weren’t aware of terms like “pet flipper” or “backyard breeder”. They are just average people who had no way of knowing these things. No way at all.
They didn’t see the red flags and there were many. There was no name on the ad; not of an individual or a kennel, and therefore no viable way to check out the breeder themselves much less the animals they offered for sale. They were picking up their new pup in a McDonald’s parking lot so they weren’t going to be able to see the pup’s parents or where it had been raised. And then there was the matter of the cash-only sale.
After driving for hours the couple arrived at the McDonald’s and met up with the dog breeder. As soon as Cindy saw the pup she knew something was not right. The pup in the photos and described in the ad, (a meaty muzzled chunk with luscious wrinkles galore, a pup of substantial size, and obvious good health) was not the pup before her. This pup was tiny, lightweight, and appeared to be the runt of a litter. His nose was running and he was missing patches of his hair. He was not the bouncy little bundle of wrinkles she had expected to see.
A woman accompanied the man but remained in the car.
When Danny mentioned to the man he didn’t think this was the right pup, the breeder assured him it was. He explained that the pup was thin from a growth spurt, he was tired from playing with the other pups, and his runny nose was from riding in the car with the air conditioning on. When Cindy mentioned the missing patches of hair, the breeder dismissed it as having happened while playing with other puppies.
Cindy had taken the pup from the breeder and began to sit him down in the grass. The man quickly stopped her and warned that he’d only just received his first round of shots and placing him on the ground could expose him to disease.
Danny and Cindy knew nothing was right with anything that was happening but Cindy had made up her mind; she wasn’t leaving that parking lot without the pup named Panama. The man’s demeanor was troublesome, but this pup needed love and a home, and it obviously hadn’t been cared for properly by the man who had him for sale.
Cindy told Danny to give the man his money. Shocked by his wife’s decision he hesitated, but he handed the man $800 in cash.
The man gave Danny an enveloped that was supposed to contain the pup’s registration papers, veterinary records and certifications. The couple gave the breeder their contact information, sure that the breeder would want to keep in touch to keep up with how the puppy was doing.
The man got in his car, the couple in theirs, and they all drove away. Cindy and Danny hadn’t even gotten the owner’s name.
During the trip home the couple realized more and more that something really wasn’t right with the tiny little guy they had just purchased and it wasn’t anything caused by the air conditioned car ride or other puppies. They had planned a trip to the vet for a checkup within the next couple of days and they hoped they would find out what was wrong and get him fixed up good as new.
As they traveled, Cindy opened the envelope that was supposed to contain the puppy’s registration papers and vet records, but none of it was there. She tried making several calls to the breeder. Surely there must be a mistake. But the breeder didn’t answer his phone and he wouldn’t return Cindy’s calls.
All the way home Cindy held the wee pup, let in nuzzle in her hair, and convinced herself that everything was going to be alright. She was sure that with proper care that her new fur baby would be just fine and a wonderful new addition to their family.
When the couple arrived back in Missouri they made a stop at the local Petco store where Cindy purchased all the necessities for a puppy; food, toys, and a new bed. She was excited to get him home and settled in.
But after arriving home and trying to get Panama to potty, they realized he was just too weak and could barely hold himself up. He wouldn’t eat or drink anything.
Not wasting another minute the couple drove to the emergency veterinary clinic they had taken Hooch to just a week before. Some of the staff recognized Cindy right away. She presented the pup and told them what had transpired in the hours before.
The couple knew Panama had problems but what they were told after he was examined shocked them. The pup was desperately ill. Near death to be exact.
It was more than Cindy could take. She lost all composure and fell completely apart in her husband’s arms right in the middle of the clinic. She had never felt such hopelessness and despair. First she had lost Hooch, and now this. How much more could she possibly take? Danny sent his wife to the car.
Panama was diagnosed with pneumonia, a severe respiratory infection, skin infection, and his lungs were paper thin. The prognosis was not good.
The veterinarian explained to Danny that in order for Panama to have any chance at all of surviving he would need 24/7 care. Danny told the vet that neither he nor Cindy had any experience with this sort of care and both worked full time jobs and could not be home during their working hours. With Danny at a loss, the veterinarian assistant offered to “make a couple calls” to a “rescue they knew that handled such cases.”
Danny agreed that if a rescue would take Panama, he would surrender him. The veterinarian explained that if surrendered, Danny and Cindy would never know where he’d gone and could never see him again. Danny said he would do whatever necessary to see that the pup have the best chance of survival.
Danny and Cindy returned home grieving, physically and mentally emotionally spent, and empty handed.
They now knew what a back yard breeder looked like and what kind of horror they can cause pets and people alike.
They thought the worst was over. They thought they could put the previous week of sorrow behind them, grieve for all that was lost, and get on with healing their broken hearts.
But it wasn’t over yet. Not by a long shot.
People can only suffer so much sorrow before they get mad. And getting mad usually leads to something getting done about the situation, good or bad.
Cindy set her mind on doing something, anything, to bring justice to her situation and the pup she had gotten from the Tennessee breeder. She couldn’t stop thinking about poor Panama. She couldn’t help wondering how he was; if the rescue had accepted him and if he was going to make it. Regardless, she was going to do everything she could to make sure that the breeder that had sold Panama didn’t treat any other animals the way he had her pup, or scam any other unsuspecting people.
Realizing that most businesses these days have surveillance cameras Cindy called the Memphis McDonalds where she and Danny had met the breeder. She spoke to Patricia, the store manager, and told the story about Hooch and about meeting the breeders on the parking lot of the restaurant.
Patricia, an animal lover herself, was furious and wanted to help Cindy any way she could. She had no idea that the breeders were using her parking lot for such unscrupulous activities and she intended to put a stop to it.
Unfortunately the transfer between Cindy and Danny and Panama’s breeder was not within the range of the cameras at that Memphis McDonald’s, but Patricia promised to keep her eyes open and call police if she saw any such transactions taking place in the future.
Cindy was disappointed. They had hoped for a license plate number or anything that could lead them to the couple they’d met in that parking lot. If they had the right information they could call the police and at least make a report.
Then something dawned on Cindy; the easiest way to catch the breeder in the act would be to set up another purchase with him. The couple went to work recruiting a friend to make that happen.
A short time after Danny and Cindy had left Panama with the vet, Cindy got a message on Facebook from an old schoolmate that she hadn’t really communicated with in several years. His message said he “had a friend who wanted to talk to Cindy about the breeder she had gotten Panama from.” He implied that his friend had seen some sort of post Cindy had made about the pup on social media. He told her how sorry he was for what she’d gone through and told her that “these people could help get the breeder investigated.”
But Cindy had not posted anything about her experience she’d had with the pup from Tennessee. As a matter of fact, she and Danny had only discussed it with one close family friend.
Cindy ask her friend, “How does this woman know about all this?” to which he replied, “Rochelle [Steffen] on Facebook has a business that saves dogs. She saw your post somehow? She asked me if I had your contact info so she could contact you. That’s about all I know about it.”
The man gave Cindy Rochelle’s personal page link so Cindy could contact Rochelle directly. And she did.
During an online chat, Rochelle questioned Cindy about the breeder. She told Cindy that others had contacted her about who she believed was the same breeder and she was trying to run them down and put a halt to their business. Rochelle sent Cindy images and asked Cindy if it was the same people she had purchased Panama from.
Cindy recognized their faces and confirmed that they were indeed the same people. The man’s name was George Doyle.
Rochelle gave Cindy a telephone number she said was for a “DA” (district attorney) named Rich Riddle in Tennessee and asked that Cindy call him. (It was later discovered that Rich Riddle is actually an investigator for the Tennessee Attorney General.)
Rochelle and Cindy exchanged their own telephone numbers and began having conversations about all that had transpired. Cindy told Rochelle everything about Hooch dying and her subsequent trip to Tennessee to purchase a new puppy. She told Rochelle how awful she’d felt when she found out the pup she had gotten was in such dire need. She told her how the vet had said that Panama needed around the clock care, and how she knew that neither she nor her husband were capable of providing such extensive care.
Rochelle seemed sympathetic and said she understood.
It wasn’t long before Rochelle dropped the bombshell. She had Cindy’s pup. She was the rescuer the vet had contacted to take Panama. The pup’s name was now Marshall and he was in bad shape and Rochelle was posting his progress, or lack of, on her “rescue page” on Facebook, “Mac the Pitbull.”
Cindy started following the posts about “Marshall” on Mac’s Facbook page. She had been told she would never see the pup again; but now she was seeing him on Mac’s page. Cindy was relieved knowing Marshall was getting the around the clock care he needed and was at least getting a fighting chance.
Barb, a family friend, had called Doyle at Cindy and Danny’s urging, and left a message on his voice mail saying she was interested in one of his puppies. Several days passed before the breeder called back, but when he did Barb told him that she wanted to buy one of his pups, and would like to meet him that Saturday. The breeder told her that he couldn’t, that he was already busy with another sale that day.
Cindy immediately called Patricia at the Memphis McDonald’s and told her there was a chance that Doyle might be on her lot the following weekend. Patricia was ready.
Doyle indeed did show up and attempt to make a transaction that weekend. In the middle of the deal, Patricia went out into the parking lot to confront Doyle, and tell the couple buying a pup what had transpired between with Cindy and Danny and Doyle in the weeks before.
Patricia had already called police. They were on their way.
By the time the police arrived, Patricia had spilled everything to the buyers and told them to ask for the pup’s papers before they did anything. Doyle refused to show the couple any papers and would not hand over the pup. Doyle said he had decided to keep the pup, a Doberman Pinscher. There was no sale.
Unable to cite him for anything more, the policed ticketed Doyle with trespassing. Had he actually completed the sale authorities might have been able to ticket him for solicitation, but trespassing was as good as they were going to get.
George Doyle and his wife Tabitha Nicole Webb Doyle have a long and miserable history with poor breeding practices, dog selling scams, and animal abuse and neglect.
In 2000, Tabitha Nichole Webb was charged, along with her mother, for 101 counts of animal neglect and cruelty. She was convicted of 48 counts.
By court order, the Webbs were restricted from owning pets for 10 years, ordered 50 hours of community service, charged with fines amounting to thousands of dollars, jail time, and then placed on probation.
Tabitha has had many probation violations over the years and has repeatedly eluded authorities regarding animal welfare issues and pet selling scams. An internet search of her name will produce dozens of results showing claims of neglect and deception from countless numbers of her customers. Somehow she has managed to avoid further prosecution for her practices to date.
Tabitha has operated under a number of aliases including: Tabitha Doyle, Tabitha Nicole, Tabitha Webb, Eryn House, and Tabitha Webb Doyle.
George Doyle has a history of animal abuse and neglect as well as pet selling scams although no convictions can be confirmed. He has been known to use either an alias or a partner named Brian Ashford, operating under Cedar Stone Kennel, a business owned by George Doyle.
Doyle and Webb have operated in several states, both separately and together. Those states include, but are not limited to, Nevada, Mississippi, Georgia, Utah, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Most recently activity has been in Tennessee but it is confirmed that they ship animals to other states.
The duo frequently uses store parking lots as meeting places to make their sales where they present sick and injured puppies to unsuspecting buyers. They advertise their puppies on websites like Next Day Pets and Puppy Find. Some consumers report Craig’s List ads but those ads have been pulled without confirmation.
Doyle and Webb have operated under various kennel names and sometimes no name at all. Kennel names like Ramstock Dobermans, Riverview, Cedar Stone Kennel, and most recently, House of Ashford.
In 2013 Doyle lost his AKC rights to breed after refusing to allow inspections by the American Kennel Club.
The most recent popular breed the pair offers is the Shar Pei but have been known to deal in Doberman Pinschers as well as other breeds. Prices for their pups range from $750 to over $1200. The pups are sold with forged veterinarian records and registration papers, if they come with papers at all.
Buyers report a multitude of issues with the pups sold by this pair ranging from mange and other skin ailments, upper respiratory issues, infections, parasites, broken limbs, and even missing testicles. Accounts by various veterinarians indicate that these problematic pups are not only the product of poor environments and bad care but improper husbandry practices. Inbreeding and a constant breeding programs of female parents are likely the culprit of the genetic issues noted in many of the Doyle-Webb dogs.
Anyone with complaints against Doyle or Web is encouraged to contact Tennessee authorities. Rich Riddle is the Inspector for the Attorney General of Tennessee, (615) 741-8735 and then there’s the Tennessee Department of Consumer Affairs. Local authorities should be alerted as well.
Anyone considering buying a pet from a breeder should do full research on the breeder in question. They should always check references and visit the home or facility where the animals are bred and the young are raised. Breeders should be open and honest about their operations and provide verifiable documentation to back up their history of breeding and sales.
Cindy and Danny called Rich Riddle and gave his office the information concerning their experience with Doyle and Webb. To date they have not heard back from Riddle.
Patricia, the Memphis McDonalds manager, keeps a close eye on what transpires on the parking lot of her store.
Dozens of rescues and breeders have been made aware that Doyle and Webb are still very much in business and operating in Tennessee.
Cindy and Rochelle kept in touch briefly, only for what Cindy thought was a way to nail Doyle and Webb to the wall legally, and stop them from harming animals or scamming people ever again. But it wasn’t long before Cindy found out that Rochelle’s intentions were less than pure.
During communication with Rochelle, Cindy was unaware that Rochelle had been stalking her and Danny’s Facebook pages, and possibly those of her children. The stalking had begun even before Rochelle had initiated any contact with Cindy through their mutual friend, Cindy’s old schoolmate.
Rochelle had ‘mined’ Cindy’s friend list, searching for mutual friends that she could use to contact Cindy. She had been stalking the couple since day one of Panama’s (Marshall) surrender at the vet. And it was easy for a Facebook savvy person like Rochelle to view the content of Cindy’s Facebook page. A page containing post after post of personal information, because Cindy had no idea she was posting publicly. Still, Cindy had never posted anything about the pup she had gotten from Tennessee. How could anyone have known?
And as if stalking wasn’t bad enough, little did Cindy know then, that Rochelle had been sharing the couple’s story on her personal Facebook page; a place where hundreds of people were reading it.
At first what Rochelle posted was true enough.
Nothing like being on the phone with a person you can’t get off the phone when a voicemail from the ER clinic pops through. Heart attack central. Just so happens it was the woman me and my ninjas tracked down who surrendered this very puppy, Rochelle wrote. [Referring to Marshall, formerly named Panama.]
Rochelle goes on to write about Cindy.
She was a tremendous mess and I feel bad these monsters took advantage of her after losing her 5 year old ‘heart’ dog with no warning. $800 spent and still heartbroken and no dog to hold……This woman’s story is an example of why not to buy a puppy online from a puppy site. Sigh…. I wanted to tell her she randomly saved this dying puppy by going through with buying him for $800 in a McD’s parking lot in Tenn by a 60 year old sweet talking couple out of a black Milam, but I didn’t. I may after he is adopted by somebody else.
It’s unclear at what point Rochelle finally told Cindy that she had custody of Panama [Marshal]
Rochelle explained to Cindy that the girls at the vets office had contacted her [Rochelle] immediately on Panama’s surrender, and Rochelle had posted as much on her personal Facebook profile.
But the question still remained; how did Rochelle get Cindy’s name?
The vet had been clear that Cindy and Danny could not be told where the pup went after they surrendered him. So wouldn’t that go both ways? Would the vet not be required to keep Cindy and Danny’s information private as well? And if everything was supposed to be kept so hush-hush, why was the “rescuer” reaching out to them now and exposing herself? Was that even legal? Was it ethical?
Cindy tried to put those questions in the back of her mind. Marshall was getting the care he deserved and that is what mattered. She felt less than adequate that she couldn’t provide that care and it’s something that haunted her. She told herself she had done what was right and the best thing for Marshall. But the guilt tore at her; remaining ever present. Even Rochelle had told her that she understood and that what she had done by surrendering Marshall was the right thing. Surely if a rescuer was telling her this her actions must be justified.
After all, Cindy and Danny hadn’t known until recently anything about back yard breeders. They had no clue how rescues operated or even that they could have gotten a pup from one. They had never surrendered an animal before. Up until now, all of the animals in their life had remained with them until their end. This was all new territory for the couple and they found it all overwhelming.
Unfortunately what Rochelle was telling Cindy didn’t coincide with the ongoing updates she was providing to others on Facebook.
Cindy had no way of knowing what was going on behind the scenes with this woman whom she was trusting with her experience. She was seeing the updates about Marshall on Mac’s page, but so far no posts there were about the couple’s experience, at least not directly.
Cindy was oblivious to the posts Rochelle was making on her personal Facebook page.
At first what Rochelle shared with her friends was fairly accurate and seemed sympathetic enough, but soon her posts became a twisted version of the truth.
“Basically the family (they seem great) had a five year old Shar Pei….,” said Rochelle.
She told of the couple’s lost pet, of how the breeder had scammed them, and even of how they paid the $800 for Marshall instead of leaving him behind in the hands of a monster.
She went on to tell her minions how the couple had rushed the pup to the ER vet clinic.
But then the lies started when she wrote
“The husband apparently flipped and told them to put the pup to sleep because he couldn’t go through all of this again or watch his devastated wife be so heartbroken.” She continues, “So I get all their pain. They should have waited to get a new puppy and allow her to mourn the one she just lost. What I will never do is give him back.”
It was true that Cindy was distraught and that Danny was beside himself trying to comfort his wife. But Danny and Cindy had never asked that Panama [Marshall] be euthanized at the vet.
It was the vet that had given the couple the options of caring for him themselves or sending him to a rescue; one that had “experience in these kinds of cases.”
The vet told them the pup would need around the clock care and the couple, knowing they could not provide that, made the hard decision to surrender him to someone who could provide what he needed.
All of this came from the recommendation of the veterinary clinic. Danny and Cindy had no idea such rescues or people existed. But euthanasia was never discussed. Not once.
Additionally, at no time during her conversations with Rochelle did Cindy ever ask if she could have Marshall back. She was clear on the fact that once surrendered she could never have her pup back. Her conversations with Rochelle consisted of background on the situation and information pertaining to the breeders.
After one of Rochelle’s increasingly frequent personal rants concerning Marshall, one of her Facebook followers’ points out that the couple actually may have been Marshall’s saving grace, something Rochelle had previously acknowledged herself.
Rochelle replied, “Yes (name removed to protect privacy), EXACTLY why I could not hate them. I have actually facebook stalked them all and they seem lovely. (Still not getting Marshall).”
During this time, Rochelle is posting on her Mac page about Marshall’s recovery. When he eats, when he sleeps, and all of his diagnoses.
“Upper respiratory infection, aspiration pneumonia, bacterial skin infection, round worms, coccidian, extreme malnourishment and epic neglect”, she lists, “(because his poop squad backyard breeders lack any good human qualities.) Marshall is Pitbull strong and will bounce back because WE ALL LOVE HIM HERE,” spouts Rochelle.
She tells Mac’s page fans about the expense of his medications and how the pharmacists can’t believe what a good dog mom she is spending that kind of money on her pet.
Of course the pharmacist has no idea that all the money for Marshall and his care is coming from donations made to Mac the Pitbull and not out of Rochelle’s pocket. Donations made by people all over the country, even outside the US; people who only know how great Rochelle is because she tells them so, in the “voice” of Mac, on his fan page.
A rare few of these people know Rochelle personally and haven’t had the displeasure of watching her tear other people down to build herself up over the last few years. And all the while, boasting and patting herself on the back, over and over again, for the handful of animals she may or may not have helped.
Rochelle goes on to tell about all the people who are donating to Marshall’s care, in post after post on Mac’s page.
By her own account, and speaking as Mac, Rochelle says,
“I would like to send a special thank you to whoever called my vet today from Maryland and paid $150 towards his [Marshall’s] bill. I was super thankful and Marshall is sending you wrinkled kisses. Along with the other generous donations we have been getting today for Marshall and Barnabus we will be able to keep them cared for and my Emergency Fund stocked.”
Mac’s emergency fund is stocked, Rochelle’s fund, and not the local shelter that so graciously allows her to operate within the confines of Missouri law under their license.
The whole time Marshall is fighting for his life the money is pouring in. Each post on Mac’s page about Marshall speaks of his pitiful state. Anytime anyone comments about what they could do to help, Mac’s page responds with a link to their Paypal account or the address where checks can be sent.
Rochelle continues to post rants on her personal page that grow angrier and more deceitful with each one. Cindy and Danny suddenly go from the poor, naïve, victims to the monsters who ‘dumped’ Marshall because…
“He wasn’t worth saving….[and they] are no better than the breeder they bought him from,”according to Rochelle.
And her Facebook friends rally to her side like an angry mob.
Cindy knew none of this. She was simply oblivious.
Then one day Cindy got an unexpected call. It was the other breeder she had contacted at the same time she had contacted Doyle and Webb, and the second breeder now had a puppy available.
Cindy broke down and told her story once again. The breeder was sympathetic and compassionate and assured Cindy that this was a totally different situation. The dogs she had bred were family pets and were well cared for. Cindy and Danny were welcome to come to their home for a visit and see for themselves the conditions that the parent dogs and pups were living in.
At first Cindy told herself there was no way she wanted to take on a puppy after all that had transpired. Did she dare? Was the incident with the Tennessee breeder a sign that she should wait before getting a new pet? Or was this unexpected call a sign that she might finally get what she was after in the first place?
When she told Danny about the call they talked it over and decided to drive up and meet the pup and see how things went. After all, they still wanted another dog and this time the situation seemed worlds better than the last. The second breeder was local, had references that checked out, and a vet that vouched for them.
Danny and Cindy made the journey to check things out and when they arrived at the breeder’s home they discovered that everything they had been told was true.
The parent dogs were well cared for and were indeed family pets. They met the pups and Cindy immediately fell in love with a little boy. The couple knew they had a connection and they brought the pup home, naming him Ghost.
Excited that they had finally found a pup, one that was healthy and seemingly normal, Cindy posted a picture of Ghost on Facebook to show him off. Cindy’s caption read, “My new puppy, his name is ghost rider he is also a shar pei and very sweet. I still miss my Hoochie Poochie but ghost is keeping me busy.”
Certainly everyone would be happy for them. After all they had been through they had finally gotten a puppy! Surely all her friends would be excited for her knowing how much she had wanted this day to come.
Not familiar with the dark side of Rochelle, or that Rochelle was stalking her on Facebook, Cindy had no idea what was to come.
Rochelle had continued to post on Mac’s page about Marshall; about his ups and downs and his eventual decline. The poor little pup was miserable and not doing well at all. He had an army of followers hanging on every post made about him. And while the posts on Mac’s page stayed relatively neutral, the posts Rochelle made on her personal page were full of rage.
11 days after Cindy made her Facebook post about Ghost, Rochelle made a Facebook post of her own. She did a screenshot of Cindy’s picture of Ghost and posted it.
And as they say, the crowd went wild. People began commenting ugly things about Cindy and Danny and acted like a mob looking for some sort of justice. How dare Cindy and Danny move on with their lives. How dare they finally get the puppy they were after. They should have waited, according to the comments.
Rochelle had done nothing more than incited an online riot against the very people she had stalked, reached out to, and pretended to sympathize with.
Still, Cindy had no idea what was being said, who all was reading it, or what was about to come her way. She was busy enjoying the new fur babe in her life, thinking things had finally started looking up. But the storm was a storm coming.
The following morning it was discovered that Marshall had passed away in his sleep. Thousands that were following Marshall on Mac’s page were devastated, as was Rochelle. It wasn’t difficult to sympathize with her and her loss regardless of the ugliness she had added to the poor pup’s story with her lies and half truths about the couple that had bought and surrendered him. She is, after all, human and had cared for him night and day for the previous two and a half weeks. Any animal lover, and many who are not, could understand the grief and heartbreak she must be feeling.
Again Rochelle begins ranting on Facebook. She’s angry about everything concerning Marshall. Angry at the breeder, angry at authorities, and now, angry at Cindy although she certainly never let Cindy know.
“I am angry at the woman who bought him in a McDonalds parking lot even though she said if she has really realized he was sick she would never have bought him. The same woman who left him at the clinic because he was not worth fighting for”, says Rochelle.
Cindy had never said that she wouldn’t have bought Marshal as Rochelle had stated. More lies to make Cindy a horror to those reading.
Then suddenly, out of the blue, people that Cindy and Danny didn’t know started sending Cindy nasty messages accusing her of dumping Panama [Marshall] to be euthanized at the vet; telling her how heartless she was and lecturing her on how she could have spent $800 on helping animals in shelters. How could she go out and buy another pup so soon? Had she donated any money to Marshall’s medical care?
According to Cindy Folks Lester, one of the people harassing Cindy, she had donated money to Marshall.
Seriously? Hadn’t the fact that Cindy and Danny paid $800 plus a large vet bill for a puppy they didn’t even get to keep been enough? Hadn’t the fact that they gave Marshall his best chance at survival, at their own expense both financially and emotionally, been enough?
Who were these people? Where were they coming from? How did they even know who Cindy and Danny were? How did they find them?
And if the private message Cindy Lester had sent Cindy and Danny was not enough, she posted Cindy and Danny’s image of Ghost, screenshot and posted by Rochelle, to her Malden Animal Pals page on Facebook.
Of course Cindy and Danny tried to correct the statement made on MAP’s page with the truth but their comments were deleted.
Comments by others, made in their defense, were deleted as well.
The statement by Lester was lies and the couple wanted people to know the truth. They had been heartbroken over loosing Hooch. They were scammed by a back yard breeder and had their heart broken again when they had to surrender the pup to give him a chance at survival.
Now they were being publicly crucified by people they didn’t even know.
Why were these people persecuting them, lying about them, and harassing them, smearing their good name all over the internet?
They just couldn’t figure out where all this was coming from.
With Marshall gone less than a day, Rochelle was already capitalizing on the poor pup. She had been collecting donations on his sad story for weeks and now there was more to come. Decals were being made for those who wanted to remember him. And then a T-shirt campaign was started. The campaign told this story:
“We got our sickly Marshall when someone bought him from a backyard breeder in a McDonald’s parking lot and decided he wasn’t worth fighting for and dumped him. My 501c3 Mac’s Mission gladly took over his care and fought our hearts out to keep him alive. Marshall was the most courageous champion who battled for his life while being the most loved “wrinkle butt” on the planet. After trying to beat respiratory infections, aspiration pneumonia, a bacterial skin infection, coccidia, round worms, and eventually a liver shunt we lost our sweet Marshall at barely 9 weeks old. Thousands are devastated at his loss and we truly will never fill the hole in our hearts that he left. We say if love could have kept him here he would have lived forever! He is a true testament for why backyard breeders and their supporters need to acquire morals along with compassion for their victims and STOP this disgusting practice. We hope this memorial shirt and knowing the money raised from the sales go towards saving more Marshall’s which will hopefully bring peace to those that followed his journey. We need to work together to to share Marshall’s story so he can continue to speak for the voiceless. Love, Mac”
Most people are fine with those that speak for the voiceless, but everyone expects the truth to be told when it’s being done.
Marshall’s story was sad enough without demonizing the other victims in his story; the people who had lost their own dog of many years to cancer, who was victimized by an unscrupulous breeder, and then surrendered the pup to give him the best shot he had at survival. And now, that couple was under attack by people they didn’t even know.
To date, an undisclosed amount of money has been donated to Mac’s Mission in the name of Marshall now known as “the back yard breeder pup dumped at the vet to die by heartless owners”.
The T-shirt sales for Marshall have amassed more than $3000 in profit for Mac’s Mission with more than a week left before sales ended.
Cindy and Danny’s names have been splashed all over the internet attached to lies and half truth surrounding the situation. They now have online stalkers. Saying their reputation has been tarnished is an understatement to say the least.
Mac’s Mission has moved to other dogs in the short time since Marshall’s death. It’s cold and heartless for the couple who bought Marshall to get on with their lives but perfectly fine for Mac’s mission to do so?
After all that has happened and what continues, Cindy and Danny still do not know exactly how Rochelle got their names. They are now aware that she had stalked their Facebook pages to acquire information and they’ve made changes to their accounts to prevent it from happening in the future.
Whether or not Rochelle’s proclaimed “ninjas” will continue to stalk the couple’s accounts to keep tabs on them for her is anyone’s guess but certainly a possibility, and more than a little creepy.
Neither Mac’s Mission nor Rochelle is a licensed rescue. Rochelle operates under the umbrella of the license of the local Humane Society. Only by their graces is she legally allowed to foster or take in animals. She cannot legally pull them from other shelters, rescues, or veterinarians without the intake being made by that shelter. She may not legally conduct adoptions on her own.
It remains to be seen whether or not Marshall was a legal intake of the shelter whose license she operates under or if it’s something she did on her own. According to her own posts on Facebook ‘she got the call and went immediately’. Whether or not the shelter she fosters for has laid claim to the intake of Marshall is unclear.
The only way Rochelle could have acquired Cindy and Danny’s names is:
- The staff at the veterinary clinic gave her the information
- The shelter she operates under gave her the information.
Either way, allowing the names of the surrendering party to get into the hands of a foster is unethical for any group or organization.
And no matter how she came to have the names of this couple, it is beyond reprehensible for her to use the information to stalk these people and subsequently arrange contact with them.
It goes without saying that spreading their names and information to hundreds of people (or possibly more) on the internet, complete with lies and half truths, has caused them undue suffering and embarrassment not to mention possible physical harm from some of the fanatics that Rochelle has fueled with her frequent ranting about the situation.
Moral of the story:
Always check out any breeder, business, rescue, or shelter you intend to acquire an animal from or make donations to.
When seeking an animal, get as much history as possible on the animal as well the background of the individual(s) or organization you intend to deal with. Never take that individual or organization’s word at face value. In today’s technological age information is abundant, so find it.
Look for references on any person or entity you plan to do business with; references that have dealt with them directly and personally and not those that blindly follow them on a Facebook page.
Information provided in this article is verifiable through the couple who was victimized in this matter, backed up by friends and family, and dozens of screen shots of actual Facebook postings and messages.
These screenshots were provided by people concerned for the safety and well being of the couple who have been sought out and viciously harassed by Rochelle and her friends.
Individuals having previous dealings Rochelle can verify that this is just one of many instances where she has manipulated situations, and her followers, in order to harass and attack individuals for whom she feels threatened by or are in situations she wishes to control.
In the past, she has made untrue complaints to authorities, employers, and organizations in order to manipulate, harass, and bully.
It bears noting that after the release of article one in this series of three, Rochelle and Cindy Lester were given the opportunity to retract the lies they had told concerning this couple and their experience. Both responded by posting articles stating that Examiner.com was nothing more than a tabloid and information from Examiner should not be trusted.
Oddly enough, Rochelle had previously provided information to me for an article on a lost pet page that she created. Additionally she was more than happy to share an article about a major donor to Safe Harbor in Jackson that had been exploited by Alice Wybert, using the article to promote her own beliefs about Alice and Safe Harbor.
Cindy Lester too has provided me with information and images for an articles concerning her part in animal transports which she proudly shared. Additionally she was more than happy to supply me with specific, credible information to expose the unscrupulous practices of Kennett Animal Control and their gassing of animals at the Malden pound; yet another article she shared far and wide on social media.
Examiner.com was reliable enough for these two ladies when the information met their own agenda, but now, they say information provided on Examiner is unreliable.