Police: Darien Man Charged with Animal Cruelty; New Canaan Woman Says Her Dog Died in Care of ‘Terry’s House of Pets’


Police last week arrested a 44-year-old Darien man by warrant in connection with an unlicensed dog kennel where animals had been abused and neglected, officials said.

Terence Burns. Photo courtesy of the Darien Police Department

According to one New Canaan woman, her own 13-month-old golden retriever died of heat exposure while in the care of the owner of “Terry’s House of Pets.”

Terence Burns of 259 Hoyt St. was charged with animal cruelty. The business is located at the same address, police said.

According to a press release from Lt. James Palmieri of the Darien Police Department, authorities in July were notified about a possible illegal kennel operating in their town.

Mimi (L) and Betsy Gammill (R) of New Canaan. Contributed

Darien police launched an investigation following “several complaints of animal cruelty against the owner” that included “abuse, unsanitary conditions, and neglect,” according to Palmieri’s release.

“It was also reported that an animal in his care died as a result of overheating,” it said.

Darien police obtained a warrant for Burns’s arrest and he turned himself in Oct. 6. In addition to the felony animal cruelty charge, he was cited for operating an unlicensed kennel.

New Canaan resident Mimi Gammill said she has been “heartbroken” since her own golden retriever, Betsy, died of heat exposure on July 19. Gammill received three personal references for Terry’s House of Pets, she said, and prior to becoming a client she also visited the Hoyt Street facility and was never shown the garage where animals apparently were housed.

Gammill praised the work of Darien Police Sgt. T.J. Moore and Officer Rich Flood in conducting the department’s investigation. Through it, Gammill told NewCanaanite.com, she found that Burns had left her dog alone in either a hot garage or van without water or ventilation.

Betsy Gammill of New Canaan. Contributed

“When he brought her to VCA Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Norwalk, she was in full rigor mortis with a ‘too hot to the touch body temperature,” Gammill said.

Gammill said she is concerned that Burns may continue to try and operate his unlicensed business by expanding into other towns. There is no listing for a “Terry’s House of Pets” business in Connecticut Secretary of the State records.

259 Hoyt St. in Darien. Credit: Dave Gurliacci

Police released Burns on $25,000 bond and scheduled him to appear Oct. 16 in state Superior Court in Stamford.

According to Darien tax records, the single-family home at 259 Hoyt St. is owned by Terence and Michele Burns, and sits on .24 acres.

Palmieri said that state Animal Control authorities were involved in the Darien Police investigation. A spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Agriculture said he had no information on Burns.

2 thoughts on “Police: Darien Man Charged with Animal Cruelty; New Canaan Woman Says Her Dog Died in Care of ‘Terry’s House of Pets’

  1. This person, and his wife, have to be followed for a long time to prevent them from other such terrible actions. Basically dishonest people with cruel hearts. Steepest penalties, please! I’m so sorry for the Gammills and their beautiful puppy.

  2. My heart goes out to the Gammill family, not only for their loss, but for the way their beautiful pup was treated. It is heart wrenching.
    My dog Pearl was thrown away in a garbage dumpster with her litter on a cold night, the pups were 6 weeks old.

    It takes a certain breed of “human” to be cruel to animals, and I hope that this man is prosecuted to the full extent. The penalties for these crimes do not give justice.

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