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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.