‘Palmer Became Very Agitated’: NCPD Incident Reports Detail Arrested Woman’s Response in Animal Cruelty Case


New Canaan Police Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm with one of the puppies sized Nov. 17, 2020 from Catherine Palmer's Butler Lane home. Connecticut Judicial Branch records

Authorities in removing 12 neglected dogs from a New Canaan home on a Tuesday morning last month found feces matted to some of the animals’ bodies, police records show.

New Canaan Police Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm with one of the puppies sized Nov. 17, 2020 from Catherine Palmer’s Butler Lane home. Connecticut Judicial Branch records

Some of the 10 puppies that local and state officials found in Catherine Palmer’s Butler Lane home on Nov. 17 appeared to be just a few days old, and the type of dry kibble made for newborns wasn’t available to them, according to New Canaan Police Department incident reports. 

There on a search-and-seizure warrant after a months-long investigation found that three puppies at the house had died, police found feces on the floor in the area of the kitchen where the animals were corralled, according to photographs submitted as part of a petition to transfer custody of the dogs to the town.

Nov. 17, 2020 photo of feces in the dogs’ corral inside the kitchen of Catherine Palmer’s Butler Lane home. Connecticut Judicial Branch records

Through a tenant in the home, Mark Harris, NCPD Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm spoke on the phone with Palmer while in the house.

“I advised Palmer why we were in the house and that an arrest warrant had been issued for her relating to the deaths of three puppies,” Halm said in her incident report. 

“I further advised she should respond to the residence if she wanted to discuss the matter further. Palmer became very agitated, stating she was in the middle of the country on a business trip and could not respond. Palmer repeatedly asked me who reported the dogs as being neglected and that she pays [tenant] Laurie Brown to care for the dogs. Palmer continued on until I advised her that I was ending the conversation [at] which time she hung up. It should be noted that Brown stated Palmer has never paid her for anything.”

Catherine Palmer, 48, has been charged with Cruelty to Animals. Mugshot courtesy of the New Canaan Police Department

Submitted as exhibits in a custody dispute between Palmer and the town, the police reports shed light on the key moments when authorities rescued the dogs from a home where three puppies already had died. Authorities on scene included New Canaan Police Officer Erin McCarthy, Halm, Sgt. Louis Gannon, Sgt. Peter Condos and Officer Roy Adams, as well as State Animal Control Officer Nancy Jarvis, according to an incident report from McCarthy.

Palmer has been charged with three counts of animal cruelty. Though the warrant was signed Nov. 12 by  state Superior Court Judge John Kavanewsky Jr, Palmer didn’t turn herself in until Nov. 29, after packing a vehicle with puppies and traveling around New England delivering them to purchasers through Thanksgiving weekend, police said. One of those puppies died one day after drop-off in Massachusetts, according to police. 

151 Butler Lane in New Canaan. Streetview

According to records obtained by NewCanaanite.com, Palmer had been advertising nine puppies aged four to eight weeks for sale online, for prices ranging from $2,875 to $3,275 each. Her profile on the website said, in part, “Ethical breeder who brings healthy, well-socialized puppies to new caring homes.”

According to Halm’s arrest warrant application, Palmer neglected the animals, leaving their care to tenants in the Butler Lane house and at times denying them access to medical care.

While at the house, Halm asked one of those tenants, Harris, about the most recently deceased puppy, Buddy, who had been buried in the backyard. 

Evidence presented in a hearing of the town’s petition for ownership of puppies found in Catherine Palmer’s Butler Lane house included photos of the dogs. Here’s one. Connecticut Judicial Branch website

“Harris stated that Buddy died in his arms and that he had repeatedly asked Palmer if he could take the dog to a veterinarian in her absence and Palmer told him no,” Halm said in the incident report.

“It should be noted that we seized all the dog food at the residence and there was no food designed for puppies,” it said. “Proper puppy food was obtained.”

At least some of the puppies are being cared for at the town’s animal shelter, a non-insulated former incinerator building at the dump. Town leaders are at odds over whether the facility is suitable to house lost or seized pets.

Palmer was released on $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear Dec. 28 in state Superior Court.

She also is scheduled to appear Dec. 18 in a civil hearing regarding the town’s petition for ownership of the dogs, according to the Connecticut Judicial Branch.

6 thoughts on “‘Palmer Became Very Agitated’: NCPD Incident Reports Detail Arrested Woman’s Response in Animal Cruelty Case

  1. Consequences for animal abuse are not proportional to the crime. May Karma serve this disgusting monster what she deserves.
    There is not a dog on the planet that deserves this treatment.

  2. Not sure why this home is described as Catherine Palmer’s, in that the tax records online show the ownership to be Beverly Piotrowski, the mother of her ex-husband Mark who is shown, as conservator his mother’s asset. The house has also been operated in the past as an illegal airbnb and presently also as a rooming house in violation of our zoning rules. This needs to stop now!

    • Because the police reports describe it as her last known address. The article doesn’t claim she is the owner. Also, Dave, I know you have an issue with the use of this house as it’s across the street from you—we’ve reported on it already and referenced it in covering this animal cruelty case–but what we are focusing on here is the 12 dogs, not the rental status of 151 Butler Lane.

  3. This woman is dreadful, but aside from a fine, nothing will happen to her. House pets and small animals are basically considered property. Despite having caused unspeakable conditions, and suffering to helpless, intelligent creatures, who only crave affection, all for money, she will do no jail time.
    In addition to causing her economic pain, with applicable fines, she should be monitored like any other social deviant, with care taken to be sure she can never be given a required license to work in animal care.
    It does no good to ruminate about things we can’t do. The lady will skate. What we can do is make the facility at the Transfer Station better. A coat of paint, updated heat and a/c are things we can do. Donations of hardware and fixtures could be obtained. Chewy.com comes to mind. There is big mark up in pet supplies. It’s cheaper for online operators to just tell the customer to give the unwanted items to a local shelter, rather than pay the return cost. Chewy often does this.
    The current location, next to Lakeview Cemetery, final resting place for many of the Town’s founding families, is a good compromise. Who knows? They might even be able to slip in a much needed cell site. A good negotiator might even get the phone companies to provide the update for the office as a quid pro quo.
    Some years ago when I was in the broadcast business, we needed to replace some radio towers in Denver. Locals said we’d never get permission. I offered to build a running track for public use. It’s still there, along with the four towers.
    Maybe this awful event is a wakeup call, and those helpless little dogs didn’t die for nothing.

  4. Our law makers have the opportunity to show animal abusers they will receive their just due and inspire other law makers to be as brave by adding their support in their states for appropriate ENFORCED laws. Isn’t it past time to do the right thing for defenseless animals!

  5. Please let’s make this an opportunity to look at our shelter and make way overdue necessary repairs! Also, how sad for the tenant to have to watch a puppy die in his hands. I hope he is able to speak to this in court!

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