A Skowhegan woman was arrested after police say she sold puppies and dogs with false records and mistreated the animals.

After a months-long joint investigation with the state’s Animal Welfare Program, Skowhegan police on Friday arrested Nicole Bizier, 32, according to a press release from the Skowhegan Police Department.

The investigation into the woman's activities began in January, when agents from the state program received complaints from victims who said they purchased dogs and puppies from Bizier and later discovered that the animals had not been properly vaccinated. The release said state agents examined veterinary records provided to the victims and determined they were fake.

In February, Bizier was charged with tampering with public records and falsifying private records and was told to immediately stop selling dogs and puppies.

In March, state agents received a complaint of animal cruelty after a dog was found running loose in Pittsfield. Veterinarians said the dog had been muzzled for a long period of time and had severe tissue damage.

Friday, Skowhegan police, agents from the state program and employees from the Somerset Humane Society executed a search warrant at Bizier’s home. The release said they found a female pitbull that was malnourished and nursing, three puppies that were locked in a closet with a box of cat litter and four puppies that were in a bathtub with wet cat food and a blanket soaked in urine.

Bizier was charged on Friday with animal cruelty, theft by deception and illegal operation of a pet shop.

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