Former Animal Rescue Manager Arrested on Animal Cruelty Charges

The former manager of an animal rescue in Wolcott was arrested Friday on animal cruelty and other charges, accused of adopting out sick and dying dogs.

Krystel Lopez, 32, turned herself in to police.

Wolcott animal control officers began an investigation at the Tails of Courage Animal Rescue in July after receiving multiple complaints from families who had adopted puppies from the organization.

Some of the puppies died hours or days after being adopted.

Seven puppies were tested and found to be sick with parvo virus, according to Wolcott police.

Two kittens were found dead in a freezer at the facility, police said. A veterinarian could not determine how the kittens died.

Lopez has faced similar charges before. She was charged with animal cruelty after an an investigation into Tails of Courage in Danbury in December 2017 led to her arrest. Those charges were eventually reduced to reckless endangerment and breach of peace earlier this year as a part of a plea deal that resulted in two years probation.

The facility reopened in Wolcott this year, but voluntarily surrendered their animal importer license this summer.

Lopez is facing seven counts of animal cruelty, as well as charges of having invalid health certificates, possession of vaccines and serums for dogs and cats, and practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

She was released on $5,000 bond.

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Lopez's attorney, Ioannis Kaloidis, issued a statement on Friday.

“She denies any wrongdoing. She denies doing anything intentional to harm any animals. She got involved in this field because she cares for animals and she loves animals and she tried to give a lot of animals a good home.”

A lawyer representing Tails of Courage said the facility has been closed down and the founder does not have a comment on Lopez's arrest.

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