State Seizes Endangered Dogs From SPCA Rescue

More than 60 dogs were being kept in crates in an unheated barn, according to officials.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Animal Control tells NBC Connecticut, 65 dogs were seized from the SPCA of Bethlehem because the facility that houses them has no heat.

    On Thursday night in Bethlehem, 65 dogs had to be rescued from a freezing barn at an animal rescue run by the Connecticut SPCA. 

    Even more concerning was that the owner, who is the director of SPCA of Connecticut, has been in trouble before.

    Authorities seized the dogs, including chihuahuas and poodles, around 3 p.m. on Thursday, after they were found suffering inside the unheated barn along Route 63 in Bethlehem.

    65 Dogs Seized From Bethlehem Animal Rescue

    [HAR] 65 Dogs Seized From Bethlehem Animal Rescue
    Animal Control tells NBC Connecticut, 65 dogs were seized from the SPCA of Bethlehem because the facility that houses them has no heat.

    "A lot of them are small dogs they can’t keep their temperature up, it's just inhumane conditions," said Judy Umstead with Animal Control. 

    Investigators told NBC Connecticut that the dogs were freezing and dehydrated at the animal rescue and at least four were rushed to the animal hospital. 

    "We had no choice. Someone’s gotta watch out for these animals," Umstead added.

    Animal control said officers demanded that Acker fix conditions for the dogs in October.

    "We told him what he needed to do to improve the situation. He told us he would. It hasn't happened and you can feel the cold right now," Umstead said.

    When NBC Connecticut went to Acker's home in Monroe, he was sitting by the front door but would not let us in or answer our questions. 

    He did talk to us in February, when the Town of Monroe went after him for having too many dogs at his kennel there, and going against the ordinance.

    "We need really, really caring qualified adopters," Acker told us earlier this year.

    According to the Monroe Patch, the Bethlehem facility opened in October and Acker moved several dogs from Monroe to Bethlehem.

    That problem had since been fixed, but court records showed dozens of criminal charges have been filed in Milford, accusing him of illegally importing animals. 

    The case is still pending, but another case could be brought against him for the disturbing discovery police made in Bethlehem.

    Acker was not charged in connection with the Bethlehem raid, but this could change depending on the investigation.

    Officials from SPCA International said the SPCA of Connecticut is independent and they do not have overseeing authority, but commends law enforcement officials.

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