LAPLACE, LA (WVUE) - Several families say a woman scammed them out of money and a new pet.
Deputies arrested Jennifer Walls, 29, after multiple people claimed she stole the deposits they put down to buy puppies that may have never existed.
Jaime King saw an ad on Facebook from Walls that was offering Shih-Tzu/Yorkie mix puppies for a small price, so she jumped at the opportunity to get her children a new pet.
"I went and paid her $65 on that day," King said. "She came out with a receipt and I was to pay her the $15 upon pick up of the puppy."
It was the same story for several other people who went to Walls' LaPlace home hoping to buy a puppy and spending anywhere from $50 to $100 for a deposit.
"She came out onto the front porch with a puppy in her arms, a little tiny one, and she said, 'oh this is the puppy right here,' and I said, 'oh she's beautiful,'" Cyrila Nesbit, who was buying the dog for her grandson, said. "We named her together. We both decided we were going to name her Abby. I even asked her, 'how is Abby doing?' And I would never get a message."
King and Nesbit said Walls stopped answering messages for a period of time, before she started to ask for more time before the puppies could be delivered.
"A week went by, I contacted her again," King said. "Her phone wasn't taking calls, so I contacted her on Facebook and she said, 'Oh it has to be another week I still didn't have the money to take the dog to the vet. It'll be another week.' It was excuse after excuse."
Eventually, King and Nesbit spotted a warning on Facebook, accusing Walls of running a scam. In fact, King found the image she said Walls claimed to be from her previous litter on the front page of a web search.
"She actually went off of Google and got that puppy, the picture of it, because when I Google half Shih Tzu, half Yorkie mix, that came up and that was not from her post that was something somebody else posted a few years back," King said.
Walls was arrested on Friday, but bonded out over the weekend, so we went to her LaPlace home to find out if she ever intended on delivering puppies to the multiple families who paid, but her father said she wasn't home and hadn't seen her since she was arrested.
When we asked her father, Donald Brauner, if he knew about the scam allegations, he said he had heard about it and said she did have a few puppies at one point.
"Her female had four puppies and they mysteriously disappeared," Brauner said.
Brauner was unclear if the puppies were sold to anyone, but said he didn't know about the possible scam until she was arrested.
"When I told him, he was really upset," King said about her son. "I have an eleven-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy. They were both really upset crying and stuff, because they named the puppy, they kept asking about the puppy, it was really upsetting to them, they cried a lot."
At least one other family claimed they were scammed the same way, but now they're hoping to turn their misfortune into a second chance for another family pet.
"It's heartbreaking and they keep talking about it, a couple of people suggested I go to an animal shelter and get one who needs a home, so that's our goal this week," Roylena Humphries, who paid $100 for two dogs, said.
As for Walls, her father told us he's watching her two children. He said that while he hasn't seen her since she got out of jail, she's no longer welcome at his home.
"I had to kick her out of the house over this," Brauner said. "I didn't have no more resources to keep her around."
Walls faces six counts of theft and once charge for illegal transmission of monetary funds. She was initially arrested on an unrelated warrant.