Connecticut State Police charged a 78-year-old woman with 55 counts of animal cruelty after searching her 2,000-square-foot Deep River property last week.
Assisted by multiple agencies including Tri Town Regional Animal Control, authorities served a warrant to the home of kennel operator Jean E. Jameson Thursday following months of inquiries.
“The search warrant resulted in the seizure of 43 dogs, 3 hens, and 1 rooster from inside the residence and an additional 8 hens from the property,” police said.
Police said Jameson is licensed to house as many as 30 adult dogs.
Officials said they’d been trying to inspect the suspect’s kennel since September, but the homeowner refused officers entry and was uncooperative in scheduling a visit.
Thursday’s search was prompted by a Jan. 3 report from a veterinary hospital claiming a dog from the suspect’s Bushy Hill Road property had to be euthanized after being brought in “with severe medical conditions.”
That raised concerns. A week later, law enforcement and animal control officers gained access to Jameson’s kennels.
“During the inspection, unsanitary conditions were observed within the residence, such as dirt, trash, urine and fecal matter,” according to police. “Investigators ultimately determined that the residence was unsuitable for the housing of animals. It was also observed that there was not adequate food or water available for the dogs and that some of the dogs had matted, unclean fur.”
Tri Town Regional Animal Control visited the suspect’s property in April after receiving a complaint about barking dogs. Officers said they interacted with dogs in the yard who “appeared alert and responsive, but exhibited abnormally oily coats, raising concerns about possible maltreatment,” according to a police report.
Authorities said Jameson was made aware at the time that assistance was available to animals on the premises in need of new homes.
Jameson’s neighbors complained about barking dogs on her property since at least 1995, according to the Hartford Courant.
That summer she was issued a ticket by a Deep River dog warden after four locals accused her of violating a nuisance statute. Jameson’s lawyer argued that her client breeds English cocker spaniels on the property and had passed all health inspections.
Jameson has a Feb.8 court date, according to the New Haven Register. The animals removed from her property are reportedly being housed in various Connecticut animal control facilities.