Friends, Family Defend Breeder Charged With Animal Cruelty

NBCUniversal, Inc.

At a Bloomfield town meeting, people came out to speak for or against a dog breeder accused of animal cruelty.

Margaret Boisture faces several charges including animal cruelty, failure to vaccinate for rabies, and operating a kennel after having a license revoked or suspended.

During the meeting, Boisture's son and mom spoke out, saying the accusations against her are false.

"I don't think any kennel could be run as high standards as what she does," said Boisture's mom, Mary Walters.

"I don’t get it. I don't understand why our dogs were taken from their loving home and put in an even crappier place," said Boisture's son, Jonathan Waterman. "My mom takes very good care of her dogs."

Bloomfield Police Chief Paul Hammick was also at Thursday's meeting and described the condition the officers found the 15 dogs in that he says led to them being seized by police.

"The conditions there, I would describe them overall as very, very disturbing. That if a pet owner saw their dog in that condition, I would hope they would be appalled," said Hammick.

The police chief says the seized dogs are in municipal kennels and are being cared for at "a very high level" and that their goal is to return the dogs to the owner but that certain stipulations have to be met by the property owner so the dogs "are not returned to the same conditions that we found them in."

Supporters of Boisture say that there is no way that the dogs were living in filth. Boisture's mom says she was on the property the morning police arrived and that there was no filth.

"I think when the truth comes out ... it'll be ... it'll be clear what was going on," said Walters.

"We have photographic evidence of what we found. The officers have body cams on, so we can't make this stuff up. It's first-hand information from when we were at the scene," said Hammick.

Neighbor Jay Eberle also spoke at the meeting and said you could hear barking all day and night and "the fact that the animals were pulled said something about the condition."

In the arrest warrant, Bloomfield police say they received multiple complaints about the Tunxis Avenue property. The animal control officer (ACO) wrote that "There is no dog kennel license issued for [the property] nor has there ever been. There are also no dogs licensed to that property."

On January 24, the ACO and a police detective went to check on the welfare of the animals and met Boisture. According to the warrant, "Boisture stated she did not live at the property and that she is the owner of the dogs on the property. Boisture said she intended on moving into the residence on the property after the current tenant was scheduled to leave in mid- to late February, 2020."

Police say Boisture denied them access to check on the welfare of the animals but "Boisture claimed she cares for the dogs multiple times a day and has other individuals caring for the 'kennel' as well."

Paperwork says the ACO went to get a search warrant while another officer parked and observing the property and that he "... stated he saw multiple other individuals arrive at that address and they appeared to assist Boisture with cleaning inside the building in which the dogs were housed, in a hurried manner." The officer reported people carrying garbage bags out of the building, and the officer prevented any further entry into the building until the search warrant could be issued.

According to the arrest warrant, they entered a room and "The noise inside this room was deafening, and there was a strong odor of urine and feces."

Police say in the room were 15 dogs and that "The cages were double stacked, with a caged dog on top of another caged dog. There was no wood, metal, plastic or any divider of any kind placed between the base of one stacked dog and the top of another, just the cage itself." The warrant goes on to say "Several of the dogs were observed spinning in circles inside their cage, which can be a symptom of over-kenneling. Boisture stated that one of the spinning dogs had been born with a neurological condition that caused the spinning, however there were more dogs than that one also demonstrating this behavior. This spinning in circles is most commonly a condition caused by the caged animal not having sufficient time and exercise outside of the cage, and is also often a means of alleviating the stress of continued and prolonged confinement. This condition and behavior is commonly seen in sub-standard breeding facilities or kennels where the dogs are not allowed sufficient time out of confinement. The size of the cages did not allow enough space for an elimination area, or a dry laying space. Each dog was presently standing in their own waste."

The ACO also reported "that many of the intact male dogs were urinating on their cages and thereby on the dogs inside the neighboring cages. The [ACO] observed the sprayed urine enter the water bowl placed in the neighboring dog's cage."

The ACO noted that "all of the dogs in this room had notably fresh bedding in the cages or no bedding, and there was a pile of soiled bedding against the wall ..." The report goes on to say "All of the soiled bedding was soaked in what appeared and smelled to be fresh urine, and most of the bedding was caked in fresh feces." The arrest warrant suggests that the bedding was changed between the time the search warrant was applied for and executed.

Court paperwork also notes a goat outside that Boisture told authorities belonged to someone else who rented the space. The warrant says "There was a bucket of what appeared to be goat food or hay stretcher, and a bucket of what may have been water and was presently solid ice. The Affiant asked Boisture when [the owner of the goat] had last been to the property and she stated she did not know and had no interaction with the goat. The [ACO] explained to Boisture that under CT law, as the property owner she was considered the 'keeper' of the animal."

Also noted in the arrest warrant was that the ACO "... knows from past investigations of Boisture and communications with the CT Department of Agriculture that Boisture owned and maintained a flock of goats at this location in 2013 that were unvaccinated and imported without required health inspections, which led to the death of 10 goats, and the issuance of violations from the CT Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Regulatory Services."

Police noted there were 44 animals on the property: 38 dogs, 5 cats, 1 goat.

The 15 dogs in the one room were seized by police and taken to a vet. According to the arrest warrant "All of the [seized] dogs were diagnosed as having dirty coats with urine and feces, overgrown nails, abrasions to ears, eight of the dogs with upper respiratory infections, eleven of the dogs with dental decay requiring surgery or extraction, one of the dogs ... with a five cm mass on a mammary gland, approximately the size of a golf ball. Advanced periodontal disease on one dog, that also had an open heart murmur. Three of the dogs with weeping brown eye discharge."

Police say they issued a search warrant for the Boisture's veterinary records for a practice in South Windsor. Following that, police reported in the arrest warrant that one of the 15 caged dogs was currently vaccinated for rabies/distemper, five of the 15 dogs had no veterinary history at all, five of the 15 had expired Rabies/Distemper vaccination exceeding 2+ years, four of the 15 had never received Rabies vaccination, 14 of the 15 had expired or absent preventative vaccines, such as Parvovirus, Bordetella, and Leptospirosis. Police noted that of the 43 domesticated animals, 32 had expired Rabies vaccine or never received a rabies vaccine, 36 dogs had expired or never received Bordetella vaccine, 28 dogs had expired or never received Distemper vaccine, 39 animals had expired or never received Leptospirosis vaccine.

Boisture's attorney released a statement saying:

"Margaret Boisture is an exceptional dog breeder who cares diligently for the health and well-being of her dogs. She enjoys a well-earned and stellar reputation among her peers and customers. Many of her dogs are champions and grand champions. The dogs are raised in a modern 2,000 square foot building with certain amenities that many people do not even enjoy, such as in-floor heating, that reflect her high standards. In a recent inspection by the American Kennel Club, she received the highest marks with no negative comments. The same veterinarians have cared for her dogs for years and attest to their good health and the outstanding level of care that Ms. Boisture provides. The notion that she would neglect the health or safety of her dogs is absurd."

Boisture also filed a lawsuit against the Town of Bloomfield and the animal control officer. It says Boisture is a Bronze Breeder of Merit with the American Kennel Club. The suit says when the 15 dogs were seized, the defendant was required to file a verified petition that would allow Boisture an opportunity to challenge the basis of the defendant's temporary custody of the dogs as well as challenge the basis of any violations related to the dogs' care. It demands the defendant "to file the verified petition and otherwise act in accordance with state and federal law, and to set an expedited show cause hearing immediately after Defendant files the verified petition."

Contact Us