PITTSBURGH - A jury reached a guilty verdict Friday in a case of a Spring Hill woman accused of stealing and euthanizing a dog from a terminally ill man.
Gisele Paris was found guilty of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and cruelty to animals.
Police had accused Paris of taking the dog, a Siberian husky named Thor, from her neighbor’s yard on Thanksgiving Day of last year. On Feb. 10, she had the dog euthanized in her home by a licensed veterinarian, claiming that the dog was sick and neglected.
In court, a veterinarian testified that the dog was healthy and had a treatable condition.
While undergoing treatment for stage 3 cancer, Mark Boehler, Paris’ neighbor and Thor’s owner, pleaded for the safe return of his dog until learning he had been euthanized.
"I was thrilled to death she got convicted,” said Boehler. “If somebody did that to her dog, she would be crying like a baby. She knew what she did. She took that dog.”
Pittsburgh police Officer Christine Luffey arrested Paris in February and said she agreed with the jury’s decision.
“The jury got it right. I have spoken to Mark Boehler throughout this whole ordeal. Every time we talked, he cried,” she said.
Defense attorney Robert Mielnicki maintained that Paris didn’t steal Thor but found him when she was taking a walk, took him in and cared for him because the dog was sick and neglected.
Still, Mielnicki said he believes Boehler’s testimony resonated with the jury.
“I don’t think the jury could get over Mr. Boehler coming in. That was powerful testimony,” he said.
The judge now has a lot of leeway. Paris could get as little as probation or up to 10 years in jail.
Right now, Paris is out on bond and under house arrest until another trial on charges stemming from when, police said, she resisted and assaulted the officer who went to arrest her for the incident with Thor.
She’ll back in court next month.
“I hope she does time for it so she can sit in jail and think about what she did,” Boehler said.
Boehler told Channel 11 that he believes Paris may have buried Thor’s remains and wants them back.
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