Retired State Police Detective Finds Unlikely Association Between Stolen Boston Pup and Haverhill Couple

“Chica,” as shown in social media postings.

The unlikely association between a purebred American Bulldog, reported missing earlier this month in Dorchester, and a Haverhill couple facing charges was discovered by a retired State Police detective.

The Haverhill couple, later charged with receiving stolen property—the missing dog “Chica”—came to the attention of Haverhill Police Saturday, May 14, by the retired detective, serving as a volunteer with the nonprofit Missing Dogs of Massachusetts. The detective asked WHAV for anonymity. The pair were also each charged with possessing firearms without FID cards and unlicensed possession of ammunition.

According to a Haverhill Police report, the married couple— 40-year-old Stella F. Cleghorn and 55-year-old Stephen M. Cook, both of 14 Laurier St., Haverhill—own Essex Fiber that was apparently working in Boston. According to court documents, the puppy’s owner reported the dog stolen to Boston Police May 2.

The owner, who provided proof of ownership, also learned a neighbor’s Ring Video Doorbell recorded a woman with “purple/pink shoulder length hair” “holding the dog and walking away.” A week later, a police report report continues, the dog’s owner spotted a woman with the same distinctive hair working on a bucket truck in front of his home. When he confronted the woman, she confirmed she picked up the dog because it was loose, but denied she kept the two-month-old puppy.

Court documents show the retired State Police detective used business records to identify Cleghorn and Cook. Those papers also report Cleghorn, who said she looked for the dog’s owner for an hour, told the detective she gave the puppy away to another woman who “looked like she was looking for something.” The woman was traced to Haverhill where the officer reported taking a photograph of the dog outside the couple’s Haverhill home on two different days.

Cleghorn and Cook were arraigned at Haverhill District Court. First Justice Cesar A. Archilla released both on personal recognizance and ordered them to return for a hearing June 22.

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