A farm whose mission is to help animals is now looking for the public’s help.
A homeless runaway teen stole a dog from Funny Farm Rescue in Mays Landing, right after he was paid $1,000 for the farm to take custody of him.
Funny Farm owner, Laurie Zaleski, first met Caesar about three months ago, after she was approached by people at the Covenant House in Atlantic City because they couldn’t take the dog of the 19-year-old runaway.
“I don’t foster,” Zaleski said she told them.
But after being called several times, “they wore me down.”
“Brandon” — whose name may also be Aaliyah — had said he came from Missouri, but Zaleski said they’ve now learned he had been in Atlantic City for years.
Brandon couldn’t find a shelter that would promise not to euthanize the dog, so Zaleski finally agreed to help.
She told Brandon he could have the dog back once he established residence and had a good job and stability.
“I had every intention of giving him back,” Zaleski told BreakingAC.
Meanwhile, Caesar became attached to the 550 other animals and got used to the 20 acres.
Worried that Brandon wouldn’t be able to provide stability for the dog, and that working enough to provide for them would leave Caesar alone in a room, one of the volunteers offered to pay Brandon $1,000 for him to sign his rights away.
The conditions would include that Caesar would not be adopted out and Brandon could visit.
After a couple of days, Brandon returned with the signed paper, saying he knew what was best for the dog, Zaleski said.
Brandon accepted the money and then started playing with Caesar, even posing for a photo.
Zaleski said she didn’t know of the deal the volunteer made using their own money until right before Brandon fled.
But then he started walking toward the gate, and called Caesar to him, Zaleski said.
As she realized he was leaving, a red or maroon SUV sped up, stopped to pick him up and left.
“We watched it happen,” Zaleski said.
She’s now learned that she didn’t really know the teen’s name, and that he may have been born Aaliyah.
The police are investigating and the Covenant House is fully cooperating, Zaleski said.
Anyone who has seen Brandon or Caesar is asked to call Hamilton Township police at 609-625-2700 or Atlantic City police at 609-347-5780.