Case Snapshot
Case ID: 10939
Classification: Hoarding, Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Child or elder neglect
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Saturday, Mar 10, 2007

County: New Haven

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Frances Johnson

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

Frances Johnson, of 19 Ocean Ave., was charged with cruelty to animals and two counts of risk of injury to a minor after police found a live, newborn puppy and three dead ones in a garbage bag in front of her home March 10 afternoon.

The animals were apparently part of a litter that Johnson and her 14-year-old twin daughters decided not to keep, officials and neighbors said Monday.

Johnson would not come to the door of her large, white vinyl-sided house a block from Wildermere Beach when a reporter visited, and her telephone is unlisted.

The live puppy in the black plastic trash bag was eventually returned to Johnson, who also owns its mother. The 30 cats, nine adult dogs and six puppies in the house - most of them kept in a locked, upstairs bedroom - were allowed to remain, Animal Control Officer Patricia Liptak said.

"The animals were well taken care of," Liptak said. "They had food and water, and there wasn't feces on the floor. Believe me, I've seen a lot worse."

That was also the viewpoint of city Health Department inspectors, who declined to condemn the property. "The house has heat, electricity and running water, and while there are code violations that need to be addressed, including an accumulation of clutter and filth, people have a right to live the way they want to within broad limits," said Dr. A. Dennis McBride, the city health director.

Department of Children and Families was reportedly notified of the conditions in the home, where the two girls live with their mother and an older brother. Officials would not comment.

There were several black plastic bags in the yard and near the broken flagstone walk Monday, and debris and old cars in the driveway. Ringing the doorbell set off a cacophony of barking and meowing. Neighbors said they have been trying to get Johnson to clean up her property for some time.

Nora Espinel, who lives at 40 Ocean Ave., said she called the police Saturday after a neighbor heard whimpering from inside the trash bag, cut it open and found the puppies.

"We brought the live one up to our house to keep it warm, and we had it until the police asked us to give it back," Espinel said.

Another neighbor, Richard Walker, said Johnson is "practically a recluse" and is living in the house she grew up in. "I've been trying to get the city to clean up the dump there for more than a year," he said.

Liptak, the animal control officer, said while Johnson appears to be a conscientious - if somewhat overwhelmed - pet owner, she had to have known that at least one puppy in the trash bag was alive. "That would have been hard to miss.

"Maybe she just didn't want any more puppies."


Case Updates

Frances Johnson will appear in court next on August 7 at 10:00 a.m. Johnson was charged with cruelty to animals and two counts of risk of injury to a minor after police found a live, newborn puppy and three dead ones in a garbage bag in front of her home on March 10.

Animal Control Officer Patricia Liptak said that she must have known that at least one puppy in the trash bag was alive. "That would have been hard to miss".

The live puppy in the black plastic trash bag was reportedly returned to Johnson.
Source: Case # A22MCR0762178
Update posted on Jun 28, 2007 - 2:12PM 

References

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