OXFORD--An animal control officer from the town of Oxford has been arrested for using city funds to care for animals she illegally took home with her.
State Police arrested Cori Wlasuk, 44, of Southbury, after a long investigation that revealed she had stolen two dogs and forged state documents to receive free veterinarian care for them, which in her role as town animal control officer, she listed as being in the care of the town.
On December 17, 2015, Oxford First Selectman George Temple alerted police that Vickie Tkacz, an Oxford resident who breeds Newfoundland puppies, had made a complaint that Wlasuk had stolen her black pure breed in 2011, and a brown female pure breed in 2014. The female Newfoundland was only weeks old at the time.
Tkacz told Fox 61 in both cases the dogs had gotten loose and she had called Oxford Animal Control looking for them. She was told the puppies weren't at the shelter. After the 2014 incident, she learned Wlasuk had taken the brown puppy home. Tkacz recently discovered Wlasuk also took the black puppy back in 2011 after seeing a photo of the dog on Facebook. That's when she reported it to the town.
"They were mine. They were two of my puppies that she stole, so I was very upset," said Tkacz. "I wanted them back. I was looking for them."
The State Police investigation revealed someone had turned in the black pure breed puppy in 2011, and Wlasuk illegally took the dog home. Animal control officers are required by state statute to impound dogs for a week. She used a friend's name to eventually adopt the dog.
According to police, Wlasuk used the same friend's name to get a State of Connecticut Sterlization Voucher to spay the dog, meaning the state paid for the procedure. She continued to list the dog as living at the shelter so that the town of Oxford would pay for its veterinarian bills.
Then, three years later, in 2014, a brown female pure breed Newfoundland was turned into the Oxford Animal Shelter, and again Wlasuk took the dog home instead of impounding it. When Tkacz found out, she sold it to Wlasuk privately. However, Wlasuk told Tkacz she had to sign an "owner surrender" form turning the dog over to the town of Oxford, despite the fact that she was privately adopting the dog.
Since the dog had formally been turned over to the town through documentation, Wlasuk took the dog home, and again used a state voucher to spay it and billed veterinarian bills to the town of Oxford by listing the dog's home as the shelter.
Tkacz tells Fox 61 she is at peace now that police arrested Wlasuk, and hopes Wlasuk will have to pay her back for the money she lost, and pay the town and state back as well. For the animals' sake, she is allowing Wlasuk to keep the dogs.
"What she did by taking them was wrong and I’m not worried about her feelings because she wasn’t worried about mine, but I worry about the animals' feelings. That’s not fair to them. That's their home," said Tkacz.
She said, "It was very stressful. It was very upsetting. I'm glad it's over."
State records show Wlasuk had received three written warnings in the past for failure to investigate a dog bite, importing dogs without health certificates and falsifying a state of Connecticut animal population control program documentation. Also, an investigation is pending against her for two failure to quarantine a biting dog counts, a failure to fill out a dog bite count and a count for placing a biting dog which is a nuisance by reason of vicious disposition.
On Sunday, April 24, Wlasuk turned herself in to State Police for two active arrest warrants for two counts of larceny in the third degree and five counts of forgery in the second degree. She was released on a $5,000 bond and is due in court on May 5.