Animal Crimes

Two Women Allegedly Stole Service Dog From Veteran, Who Died Hours Before His Companion Was Rescued

Jennifer Gotschall and Monique Cosser have been charged with grand theft after authorities say one of them distracted veteran Joseph Hanson while the other swiped his Pomeranian, named Kira, in Kissimmee, Florida. 

Police arrested two Florida women for allegedly stealing a service dog from a Vietnam veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

On Oct. 28, police were called to the Old Town shopping center in Kissimmee after someone reported the theft of a service dog.

“The victim, a 67-year-old Vietnam veteran advised he has PTSD and was at Old Town with his two Pomeranian service dogs,” police said. “A female began an altercation with him while another female came behind him and unleashed one of the dogs. The victim never saw the second female and he had no idea what happened to the dog.”

The dognapping was captured on surveillance video, and it showed one of the suspects with the dog, named Kira, in her hands.

Police distributed images of the dog and one of the suspects and on Wednesday, a tip rolled in that led to Kira’s return.

A concerned citizen tipped off police, which led to the arrest of Jennifer Gotschall, 53, and Monique Cosser, 51.

Kira is in good health, police said. Tragically though, her owner is not. The veteran, Joseph Hanson, died just hours before Kira’s return, according to WESH2 in Orlando. Details of his death were not released.

Before he died, he described the incident to WESH2, which began with a woman confronting him and yelling.

"During that time, that's when the other lady, who I didn't even know was there until I saw video, that's when she came up and grabbed the dog," Hanson said.

Gotschall and Cosserlth have been charged with grand theft, which could mean up to five years in jail for each of them. It’s not known if they have lawyers who can speak on their behalf.

[Photos: Osceola County Sheriff's Office]

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