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Animal Rescue Group Head Arrested On Animal Cruelty Charges

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LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ The head of an animal rescue group was arrested on 62 counts of animal cruelty in a dispute involving a shelter being built in Bethlehem.

Town officials were seeking an injunction to maintain custody of the seized dogs, to order Frederick Acker of Monroe to pay the state maximum $15 per dog per day for care and feeding, and to prevent Acker from owning, possessing or controlling any animal.

Bethlehem Animal Control Officer Judy Umstead said she warned Acker about the conditions she found at the barn, including dogs who were in filthy cages too small to turn around and without food or water.

“It was just not acceptable,” Umstead said in an interview Tuesday morning. “I couldn’t in good faith walk away from those dogs.”

A phone number for Acker could not be found, but he told the Republican American as he was arrested on Monday, “This is a grave injustice.”

His lawyer, Alice McQuaid, did not immediately return a message seeking comment

Acker said he will fight Bethlehem over custody of the dogs seized in a raid of the shelter on Nov. 8.

Umstead said she learned of the barn Acker is renting and used as a shelter after getting a report about a dog that escaped. She said she found the dog by the side of the road, likely killed by a car.

She testified in Superior Court that the temperature in the barn was 30 degrees on the day of the raid.

The dogs have since been relocated and are now “nice and warm and happy,” she said.
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Information from: Republican-American, http://www.rep-am.com

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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