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Ex-Belmont County Animal Rescue League Director Accused Of Stealing $15K

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Jennifer Woollard, the former director of the Belmont County Animal Rescue League, was arraigned Friday before Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra on two counts of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony, and one count of theft, a fifth-degree felony.

Woollard, 45, of 126 Woodrow Ave., St. Clairsville faces a maximum of seven years behind bars. Woollard’s status conference was set for July 16, with plea agreement hearing set for July 19 and trial Aug. 19. Vavra assigned a recognizance bond.

According to the court, the alleged theft took place last year and involved more than $15,000.

“That relates to her employment with BCARL, but at this time that is the only information that we can release,” Belmont County Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan said.

“We were very disappointed to learn from the authorities that their investigations appear to confirm our suspicions concerning the actions of Jennifer Woollard while she was a part of our organization,” MaryEllen Gust, president of the Belmont County Animal Rescue League, said in a statement following Woollard’s arrest.

“We are grateful to the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office for their thorough investigation into the matter so that we could focus our efforts on continuing to work toward our mission of providing the best care and recovery experience for the most at-risk animals in Belmont County.”

In February 2020, BCARL filed a report with the sheriff’s office after noticing “inconsistencies” in its books. That was the week after BCARL announced it was not renewing Woollard’s contract. She had been with the nonprofit for six years as the executive director and a humane agent.

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