Nothing upsets animal lovers more than hearing about animals being abused by their owners. Sadly, being abused by their owner is not the worse outcome for a pet, as there are many tragic cases where the abuse has gone one step further and the pets are killed. Tragically, this was the case for five dogs living in Fairfield, Connecticut, as their owner killed them and then pleaded insanity. Patch reported that police in Fairfield responded to a report of animal cruelty on November 14, 2018. They visited the house on Prince Street where they were horrified to discover the remains of five dogs in crates.
Detectives and Animal Control investigated the case further, and they were granted a warrant to search the premises. This led to the removal of the dogs’ remains, which was a shocking sight for the neighbors. This led to an in-depth investigation of the cause of the dogs’ death and who was responsible for this shocking act. Volunteers form the Bully Breed Rescue, Inc. charity were particularly appalled to hear of the news. They instantly recognized the address where the dogs’ remains were found when the story hit the headlines. They were saddened to confirm that it was the address of their president, Heidi Lueders. The group was able to confirm that the dogs were some of their own rescue dogs and that they were in Lauders care.
Vice President Chris Antolini promised that the group would do everything they could to support the investigation and to cooperate with officials. He also stated that they were surprised to learn that the dogs had been living on Prince Street. According to Antolini, his communications with Heidi Lauders had indicated that she had rehoused four out of the five dogs in a sanctuary, while the fifth dog was allegedly with a dog foster family. This information was also believed by rescue workers and volunteers. On the Bully Breed Rescue, Inc. website, Antolini stated that he had given details of all his communications with Lauders in the past seven months to the officials. He also asked that the local community shared in the group’s shock and grief that the dogs they had believed were safe and protected were in fact dead.
Police had a warrant to arrest Lauders, 31, but she handed herself in to the police station in January. In a recent report by Patch, it was revealed that Heidi Lueders has now appeared in court charged with killing the five dogs. Apparently, the courtroom was filled with animal rights protestors when she took to the stand. Lueders is pleading insanity, which means that she could escape prosecution if it is deemed that she did not have the mental capacity to understand her actions. However, there have been some problems with proving that she is suffering from a mental illness. Her defense attorney, Rob Serafinowicz, has stated that he has been unable to find a medical expert that can confirm Lauders is mentally ill. Therefore, there is an ongoing bid by Lauders and her defense to find an expert willing to back up her claims.
The judge has stated that if they are unable to find a suitable medical expert, the case will move forward without the insanity defense. This means that Lueders would be prosecuted on all five charges of killing an animal and could face a jail sentence. It is not yet known was punishment she could receive for her actions, although a jail term is likely for such serious crimes against animals. There are also wider implications of Lueder’s actions as it is likely that this has impacted on the community’s view of Bully Breed Rescue, Inc. It could take the organization some time and a lot of effort to regain the trust of the community and to win back their support.
While this case may seem extreme, there are plenty of horrific stories out there of people killing defenseless animals. In December 2018, a six-year-old German Shepherd called Molly was washed up on the banks of the River Tyne in the United Kingdom with a piece of washing line wrapped around her neck, says International Business Times. The owner was identified as Melvyn Hall by the RSPCA, who interrogated the 71-year-old. During the interrogation, Hall, a former magistrate, admitted that he had killed his dog because it was getting on his nerves following him around all the time. However, he had initially claimed that he had discovered the dog dead after returning from a trip to the shops.
Hall described to RSPCA Inspector Rowena Proctor how he had hit Molly over the head with a hammer before strangling her with the washing line. He also admitted that he had killed his pet in the garden shed, and willingly showed Proctor where the incident took place and the weapon he had used. When Hall appeared in court, he had changed his story. He told the judge that he had only hit the dog with the hammer accidentally. The elderly man claimed that he had actually been trying to hit a mouse.
Molly had undergone a post-mortem, and this showed that she had suffered multiple skull fractures plus bleeding in the brain. The evidence suggested that she had not died immediately and that it is likely that she suffered. Eventually, Hall admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. The judge gave him an 18-week prison sentence, but he was spared jail as the sentence was suspended for a year. Such a lenient sentence came as a shock to many animal lovers. Although these stories are shocking, they are sadly not the only examples of pet owners killing their pets. Tragically, this is something that goes on all around the world and it is possible that there are multiple cases that are never discovered or investigated. The true magnitude of such acts may never be known.