A Connecticut woman has been arrested on animal cruelty charges after police say they found more than 30 animals in her home, including cats, dogs, squirrels and a blind owl.
Donna Scirocco, 59, of Hamden turned herself in on Tuesday, December 15 in lieu of an arrest warrant charging her with six counts of animal cruelty, according to the Hamden Police Department. Animal control officials searched Scirocco’s home on October 26 via a search warrant and found at least 35 animals, three of which were dead, Hamden police said in an online press release.
“Upon entering the residence, animal control officers were greeted by 2 large rats. After conducting a thorough and comprehensive search, officers seized 26 cats, 6 dogs, 2 caged squirrels and an owl,” Hamden Police Captain Ronald Smith said in the statement. “One of the dogs was lifeless. In addition, officers seized 3 deceased animals, including 2 cats and a woodchuck.”
The animals were transported to the Mount Carmel Veterinary Hospital, North Haven Animal Hospital and Ridgehill Animal Hospital to be treated medically and receive vaccinations, police said.
An necropsy has been ordered for the “deceased animals,” Smith continued.
Scirocco posted a $5,000 bond and is slated to appear in Meriden Superior Court on February 5, the Hamden police press release said. It is unclear whether the 59-year-old has obtained a lawyer.
Here’s what you need to know:
Neighbors Complained of A “Stench” & Rats Running Around the Neighborhood, According to Media
According to The Associated Press, neighbors alerted animal control of a “stench” and rats running around the neighborhood.
Hamden police indicated in the October 26 press release that the animals were neglected and cruelly treated, writing, “Quinnipiac Valley Heath District officials were on scene and deemed the residence ‘uninhabitable.’”
Taxidermic animals were also found inside of the residence, police continued.
As of November 2019, There Were an Estimated 3,500 Legal Cases Involving Animal Cruelty & Abuse in Connecticut During the Past Decade, According to the Hartford Courant
According to the Hartford Courant, state records show there were roughly 3,500 legal cases involving animal cruelty and abuse in Connecticut within the past decade.
Connecticut state law “prohibits anyone from over-driving, overloading, overworking, torturing, starving, mutilating, cruelly beating or killing or unjustifiably injuring any animal,” the newspaper reported.
Failing to provide proper care of an animal, such as failing to give it “wholesome air, food and water,” is also considered a crime, the Courant continued.
Failure to provide proper care, including failing to provide an animal with wholesome air, food and water, or cruelly confining an animal is also considered illegal abuse.
Potential fines in Connecticut for animal cruelty range between $1,000 to $10,000, while a potential prison terms can be up to 10 year, the newspaper said.
Using state data, the Courant said 46% of the estimated cases in the last 10 years weren’t prosecuted. It added that 34% were dismissed, while 18% “resulted in conviction or guilty pleas, and 2 percent were found not guilty.”
According to the Hartford Courant:
A total of 1,190 cruelty cases were dismissed and 85 percent of those dismissals came after the offender completed a diversionary program, such as “accelerated rehabilitation.” Under that latter program, a defendant who successfully completes probation, court-ordered treatment or community service can have the charges against them dismissed and cleared from their record.