Woman Charged as Mystery Grows Around Missing Dog
SPRING HILL – Last year, deputies began investigating reports of a missing dog that disappeared from her caretaker during a veterinarian appointment on December 9th.
According to officials, 31-year-old Jennifer Leali didn’t report the incident until December 31st, when she told investigators that she left the dog “Zola” in her car, while she stepped inside the business for a moment. When she returned, Leali says Zola was gone and the rear door was open to her vehicle. Leali wasn’t sure if Zola manipulated the handle or was taken from the vehicle, but during questioning, investigators believed her story wasn’t adding up.
Eventually, Leali admitted that she lied about Zola’s disappearance and began shifting the blame towards Furever Friendz owner, Michele Skolny. Leali says Skolny is the one who lost Zola and told her to lie about her disappearance, so that Furever Friendz would not get a bad reputation.
Investigators tried several times to conduct a CVSA exam (Polygraph) on Leali, which she initially agreed to, but she kept making excuses as to why she couldn’t, after numerous scheduled attempts.
Investigators turned their attention to Skolny, who denied Leali’s allegations and agreed and performed the examination without hesitation. Skolny passed the examination without any signs of deception, according to investigators. Skolny says she even hired a private investigator to look into the case and started a facebook page, which raised $2,000 to offer as a reward. Despite all their efforts, Zola whereabouts remains a mystery.
Last Wednesday, Leali was arrested and charged with making false reports to law enforcement and booked into the Hernando County Jail. She is currently free on a $1,000 bond.
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