A Connecticut dog trainer has been charged with 29 counts of animal cruelty after police confiscated more than two dozen pets from a feces-ridden Massachusetts home.
Beatrice Nielsen, also known as Beatrice DeGruttola, 50, of Auburn, Massachusetts, was arrested Monday.
Police say she owns the building in Webster, Massachusetts, where authorities found 21 dogs and several cats and birds living in "deplorable" conditions among feces and urine.
Authorities began investigating after someone reported the smell of decaying flesh and thought there might be a dead animal inside.
Nielsen, known professionally as Bea DeGruttola, began working as a dog trainer at My Dog's Place in Mystic and Niantic in 2003 and has been rescuing and training dogs since 1998, according to the facility's website.
Marge Lineweber, owner of My Dog's Place, said in a statement Friday the business is aware of the allegations against Nielsen.
"We are all shocked, devastated and sadden by the news coming from Massachusetts. Our thoughts go out to the dogs, Bea and her family. Bea is a well respected, talented trainer with a wide following of clients, so we are very confused by the situation going on at her home in Massachusetts. We will continue to monitor the situation as more is known," Lineweber said in the statement.
Nielsen was released on bail and is due in court Tuesday.
The investigation is ongoing, and police said Nielsen could also face numerous code violations from the town of Webster.