Hamden Man Arrested After Dog Dies

Senior shepherd mix got loose, stuck in a swamp and had to be euthanized, according to police.


An Atlas Street man was charged with animal cruelty Thursday night after he older German Shepherd got loose from his property and ended up in a swamp up to his neck in mud, according to police.

Hamden Police were called to Welton Street around 11:30 p.m. on the report of a dog in distress, police spokesman Capt. Ronald Smith said. A resident there, Edward Sacco, told police that he had awoke to the sounds of a dog barking in his backyard, Smith said, and when he investigated, he found the dog "submerged in a swamp... mud up to his neck," Smith said. The dog had been in the swamp for about 30 to 40 minutes, he said.

"Officer Mark Gery and Sacco waded into the swamp, which reached the level of their knees, and removed the dog from the frigid water and mud," Smith said. "Once the dog was pulled to safety, it became rigid and unresponsive. Officer Gery promptly wrapped the dog with a blanket and placed it in a heated police vehicle, which revived it."

Hamden Animal Control Officer Steven Gimler also responded to the scene, Smith said, and immediately recognized the dog “Shadow”, a German Shepard mix, as belonging to Walter Gray, 51, of 29 Atlas St.

"Shadow, who is approximately 16 years of age, is blind, deaf and arthritic," Smith said. "Hamden Animal Control has responded to Gray’s address on several occasions during the past few weeks regarding “Shadow” roaming off property."

Gimler took Shadow to the Central Animal Hospital in New Haven, where he was euthanized, partially due to its exposure to the swamp, Smith said.

Gray was charged with cruelty to animals and allowing a dog to roam. He is scheduled to appear in Meriden Superior Court March 2.


Marty February 25, 2012 at 12:50 AM
I hope the judge takes this seriously. This dog deserved better after 16 years rather than an owner who can't be bothered to make sure he was safe since he couldn't hear or see.
Nick Martin February 25, 2012 at 01:16 AM
I hope this guy rots in jail.
Susie February 25, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Among other reprimands, this idiot should never be allowed to own a pet again. What a horrible ending to a long life. I'm so glad the owner was charged - he was extremely neglectful! RIP Shadow.
Beth February 25, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Hamden Animal Control was aware there was a problem with this owner and should have taken action before it came to this. They had been called out to deal with the guy letting the dog get loose many times before. Now the dog is dead because of it. He was an old dog but he shouldn't have died this way. The owner should be banned from owning a dog again because he is too lazy and irresponsible.
Ellen Nosel February 26, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Unfortunately, this guy will get a slap on the wrist. Animals are not considered to be anything but property. So what if he abused his property...realistically he will get little more than a fine. It will only be when people of conscience speak up and tell their representatives that they want more protection for animals and that they will take this into consideration when they vote, that this will change.


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