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.