New Canaan Man Charged with Animal Cruelty


Police last week arrested a 47-year-old New Canaan man by warrant and charged him with cruelty to animals.

Jack Hawkins. Mugshot courtesy of the New Canaan Police Department

Jack Hawkins, a former Parks & Recreation Commission member who resigned two years ago following a second domestic arrest, was stopped while driving on Route 123 at about 9 p.m. on Feb. 7 “due to the vehicle being associated with an active arrest warrant for New Canaan Police,” according to a police report.

Hawkins was arrested and transported to police headquarters to be processed on the charge, the report said.

The warrant resulted from “an Animal [Control] investigation that was reported to New Canaan Police in January,” it said.

The police report did not detail authorities’ grounds for the arrest. NCPD’s arrest warrant application was not immediately available either through the Police Department or the criminal clerk at state Superior Court in Stamford.

The police report issued cites subsection (a) of the state law prohibiting animal cruelty. Under it, a person who “overworks, tortures, deprives of necessary sustenance, mutilates or cruelly beats or kills or unjustifiably injures any animal, or who, having impounded or confined any animal, fails to give such animal proper care or neglects to cage or restrain any such animal from doing injury to itself or to another animal or fails to supply any such animal with wholesome air, food and water, or unjustifiably administers any poisonous or noxious drug or substance to any domestic animal or unjustifiably exposes any such drug or substance, with intent that the same shall be taken by an animal, or causes it to be done, or, having charge or custody of any animal, inflicts cruelty upon it or fails to provide it with proper food, drink or protection from the weather or abandons it or carries it or causes it to be carried in a cruel manner, or fights with or baits, harasses or worries any animal for the purpose of making it perform for amusement, diversion or exhibition, shall, for a first offense, be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both, and for each subsequent offense, shall be guilty of a class D felony.”

Hawkins’s past legal troubles made headlines in New Canaan. Following his first arrest, the then-chair of the Parks & Rec Commission, Rona Siegel, called for Hawkins to step down, saying, “I have zero tolerance for domestic violence, whatever the situation is. It’s 2021. We don’t do that. I don’t care what the circumstances are.”

Yet he remained on the appointed body—the first selectman at the time, Kevin Moynihan, had said at first that he would meet with police to discuss the arrest, then later admitted that he had not—and after Hawkins’s second domestic arrest the following year (2022), Moynihan sought to keep Hawkins on the Commission through a “leave of absence.” Siegel, meanwhile, was ousted as chair of Parks & Rec by a 6-5 vote in an organizational meeting overseen by Moynihan, with Hawkins himself seconding a motion to elect a different chair.

In resigning, Hawkins submitted a letter to the town clerk, saying in part, “To say the least, my family and I are going through a tremendously difficult time in our lives. Having our personal drama mercilessly broadcasted in the local press hasn’t been helpful. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to serve the community.”

He appeared to refer to his divorce, for which his wife filed two months after the first arrest.

According to a Relief from Abuse Affidavit that Hawkins’s wife filed in May 2022, she “had to call the police” in December 2021 “because Jack was refusing to let me leave my home with my [child].”

“He blocked my vehicle in the driveway with his vehicle and I was in fear for my safety and that of my son,” she said in the affidavit.

“After I filed for divorce, Jack began videotaping me in my home while making rude comments under his breath about me in front of our minor children,” she continued. “He was trying to get me upset on camera and would follow me around the house, every move I made while saying rude things.”

In April 2022, the elementary school attended by one of the Hawkins children contacted the state Department of Children and Families because the child was “brought to school with a black eye that my husband says occurred when his hand slipped trying to buckle my [child] in the car and [the child] was being fussy with him,” the affidavit said. “I was not home when my [child] suffered a black eye, I was away for the weekend and was not informed of [the child’s] injury until the School reported it to the DCF. I believe this matter is still being investigated because the social worker has not told me otherwise.”

Since Hawkins’s wife filed for divorce, “Jack has become more and more aggressive and erratic towards me,” she said in the affidavit.

It continued: “He has been posting messages, almost daily, on social media calling me nasty names. Both in person and on social media he calls me ‘trash,’ ‘piece of [expletive],’ ‘leech,’ ‘terrible mother,’ and calls me a ‘whore.’ He routinely makes these comments in front of our children and to our children. The other day he told the children, ‘Look kids! See that….that’s a whore’ while pointing at me. It is deeply upsetting to our kids who cry and tell their daddy to stop.”

When the parents are in the house at the same time, “he slams doors and kicks/throws boxes of my belongings,” her affidavit said.

“On Mother’s Day, May 8, 2022, he took our children and would not answer his phone,” it continued. “After repeatedly trying to contact him he finally answered and said ‘That’s what it is like when you don’t answer your phone.’ ”

Hawkins was arrested a few days later: “Jack had been attempting [to] destroy my medication that he took from my car after stealing my keys,” she said in the court document. “I started to videotape him and he got more and more aggressive with me, physically tried to take my phone away, and fought with me when I resisted. Even though I resisted his trying to take my phone and the kids yelled at him to stop, he persisted in trying to grab my phone from me, following me down the hallway. The force of him trying to take my phone away and wrestling with me against my will finally caused me to fall down five stairs into our living room. Our children were crying when this happened. Our [child] was originally on my back getting a piggyback ride when this all started. I had to quickly put [the child] down because Jack was so aggressive with me and I did not want my [child] to get hurt.”

Though Hawkins’s actions “have always been aggressive,” his wife said in the affidavit, “at this point his behaviors are so regularly bad, they are escalating and I am extremely fearful for my safety and that of our minor children when they are around their father.”

She asked the court to grant her a restraining order as well as exclusive use of the home. “He does not respect authority which was evidenced during his recent arrest when the police officer told him to the give him the keys to my car that he had taken from me and Jack refused saying the car belongs to him,” the affidavit said.

It continued: “I am pleading with this court to grant my kids and me some peace and protection from my husband’s violent and aggressive behaviors we have been living with for too long.” 

Hawkins had joined Parks & Rec in January 2019. The charges in both domestic arrests ultimately were dropped. Following his first arrest, found inconsistencies between the military and employment records (including as a former police officer) that Hawkins had included on his resume in seeking appointment to the Commission and records on file with the Pentagon and Los Angeles Police Department.

After moving to town, in 2017, Hawkins sought permission from the town to keep four sheep on his New Norwalk Road property.

Following his most recent arrest, Hawkins was released on $5,000 bond and scheduled to appear Feb. 21 in state Superior Court. He doesn’t yet have a lawyer, Connecticut Judicial Branch records show.

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