Wolcott Animal Rescue Wasn't Cleared for Kennel Operations: Town Officials

The animal rescue under investigation in Wolcott accused of adopting out sick puppies did not have approval for kennel operations, according to town officials.

Wolcott Police say a state and local animal control officer discovered three sick puppies last week when they went to investigate “Tails of Courage” rescue after receiving a report about a puppy named Louie that died hours after it was adopted.

Thursday, the town’s mayor Thomas Dunn said while the landowner had approval to build a kennel on his property, “Tails of Courage” was currently only approved for an office space and not a kennel. NBC Connecticut received the uncompleted paperwork from the town.

“It was all in the process of being built, have a nice kennel up there, the septic, they’re working with the health department, with the septic system, everything else, but that all has to be just like anybody owning a home, you need to get all that done and then you get the apprival to move in,” Dunn said. “They did not have the approval to move in to the kennel." 

Before “Tails of Courage” relocated to Wolcott, they were located in Danbury. The city filed a lawsuit for health and zoning violations in 2018. It was recently withdrawn this spring when they promised to no longer conduct business in Danbury, according to a lawyer connected to the case.

Paul Kalinowski, owner and founder of Hillside Equestrian Meadows, told us earlier this week he took a chance on allowing the nonprofit to set up in his property recently because he thought they deserved a second chance.

“When I learned there were pictures and stuff like that put in to make an organization look bad, I needed to do it myself and say you know what I’ll try it, and you know it’s all for the animals. And if these dogs and cats can get rescued and I can help, great.”

The mayor said he can’t say much as a police investigation is underway.

“As of last week ‘Tails Of Courage’ was asked to leave by the tenant, the owner of the property, and right now we’re hoping that’s happening and we’re going to follow up on that and make sure this is happening.”

According to court documents obtained by NBC Connecticut, a woman connected with “Tails of Courage” is still on probation from charges connected to the rescue when they were located in Danbury.

The 2018 arrest warrant says Krystel Lopez, an employee of “Tails of Courage,” was arrested for cruelty to animals. An animal control officer says they witnessed  “unacceptable conditions” at the facility, among other things, according to the report.

As part of an agreement, court documents show Lopez pled guilty in February to reckless endangerment in the second degree and breach of peace and was sentenced to two years of probation.

Prosecutors say the agreement provided conditions to monitor Lopez and any animals she works with.

This as Wolcott Police continues to investigate “Tails of Courage” in their town, where Lopez’s name continues to be tied to paperwork filed with the town, such as certificate of Trade Name, for example.

We’ve reached out to “Tails of Courage” multiple times this week for comment. Thursday, lawyer Vicki Hutchinson says she’s representing the rescue. She says she has no information right now because she is waiting to talk with police and hasn’t received anything from them.

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