Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19338
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Animal was offleash or loose
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Thursday, Feb 23, 2012

County: New Haven

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Walter Gray

A town man has been charged with animal cruelty after his blind and deaf dog was found in a swamp by a neighbor and police.

The dog was euthanized because of the exposure to the cold, according to Capt. Ronald Smith.

Edward Saccu, a Welton Street resident, told police he awoke to the sound of a dog barking in his back yard at about 11:30 p.m. He went outside and saw the dog in a swamp. He told police it looked like the dog was stuck in the mud "up to his neck" and was in the swamp for 30 to 40 minutes.

Officer Mark Gery and Saccu waded into the knee-high water and removed the dog. Once the dog was pulled to safety, it became rigid and unresponsive, Smith said. Gery immediately wrapped the dog with a blanket and placed it in a heated police vehicle. The warmth revived it, they said.

Hamden Assistant Animal Control Officer Steven Gimler went to the scene and recognized the dog, Shadow, a German shepherd mix, as belonging to Walter Gray. Shadow is about 16 years old and is blind, deaf and arthritic, Smith said.

Hamden Animal Control has responded to Gray's address on several occasions in the past few weeks regarding Shadow roaming off property, Smith said.

Gimler brought the dog to the New Haven Central Animal Hospital for Veterinary Medicine, where it was euthanized, partially because of its exposure to the swamp, Smith said.

Gray, 51, of 29 Atlas St., was charged with cruelty to animals and allowing a dog to roam. Gray is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Meriden on March 2.

"This was a very sad and heartbreaking situation. This story tears at your heart," Smith said. "Both the police officer and the animal control officer are visibly upset over the death of this dog."

The dog had roamed before and animal control has returned it to Gray's home on several occasions, Smith said.


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