A Devonwood Lane homeowner cleared his garage of dog urine and feces after a garbage man’s tip led authorities to investigate a neglect case involving a Bernese mountain dog puppy, according to a police report.
The Animal Control section of the New Canaan Police Department became aware of the situation on Wednesday, April 13. At about 1 p.m., the head of the section phoned back a Norwalk-based refuse company and learned that a collector there had snapped photos “of what appeared to be the inside of a garage area and the floor was covered in feces,” according to a police report obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Through a contact at the company, the refuse collector “indicated that the dog was always living in filthy conditions,” the report said.
The Animal Control officer then contacted the worker directly, who reported that “he observes what he believes to be a young St. Bernard-type dog every Wednesday and the garage floor is always covered with feces and urine.”
The worker “further related that the dog had run out of the garage when he opened it to remove the garbage, and he was unable to take pictures with the dog in the unsanitary living conditions.”
The officer immediately traveled to the residence itself, a nearly 9,000-square-foot house on about 4.75 acres, tax records show. No one answered the door, the report said.
Two days later, at about 11 a.m. on Friday, April 17, the officer again visited the home and was met at the door by a woman who identified her self as the decorator, according to the report. The woman told the Animal Control officer that the family wasn’t home, the report said.
“I asked if the family was away, [the decorator] related that she believed that they were at work,” it said. “I then requested a phone number to reach a family member, at which time [the decorator] indicated she left her cell phone at home and did not have any contact information with her.”
The officer asked whether there was a dog in the house and the woman responded that yes, there’s a dog in the kitchen, the report said. The decorator told police she didn’t know what type of dog it was and “that she was unaware of any condition issues for the dog.”
Animal Control then left contact information and left.
At 8 a.m. the following morning, Saturday, April 16, a different officer within the Animal Control section received a phone message from the homeowner himself, the report said. In the message, the man said his dogs are “well fed and well groomed” and that he has “a nanny that comes twice a day on work days” to let the dogs out, the report said.
The man added that there “are no poor conditions in the garage at all,” that the dogs are in and out of the house and yard throughout the day, and that he recently got a new puppy that he intended to license soon, the report said.
The Animal Control officer tried that same morning to phone back the homeowner but got a busy signal, the report said. Within an hour, the officer went to Devonwood Lane again to investigate, it said. There, a different woman (from the decorator) who identified herself as the nanny answered the door, together with a male Bernese puppy. Inside, the officer spotted a 10-year-old Yorkshire terrier, the report said.
The nanny told police she was caring for three teenage children, two additional young children and the two dogs, it said. She told the officer that the homeowner was expected back home from a trip overseas the following night.
“[The nanny] told me the dogs are in and out of the house all day and the back yard is fully fenced,” the Animal Control officer said in the report. “I inquired about leaving the dogs in the garage to which [the nanny] stated she was instructed to put [the puppy] there when she leaves the home to prevent the puppy from defecating inside the house. I requested to view the areas where the dogs are kept including the garage. [The nanny] led me into a spacious three vehicle garage, whereupon entry, I was immediately struck by the stench of dog waste. The garage was filled with many items, however, there was available floor space wherein dog waste stains and residue were clearly visible. I observed a large opened dog crate and water bowl in the center of the garage among a pile of items.”
The kitchen, which was “very clean,” the report said, also had a large dog crate, bed and water bowl. The backyard was fenced in, as had been reported, the report said.
“Both dogs sported healthy weight, coat and teeth and appeared to be happy, friendly and comfortable,” the report said.
At about 11:20 a.m. the following Wednesday, April 20, the head of Animal Control returned to the home, saw the middle door of the 3-bay garage open and—when no one answered the front door—saw a clean floor with no sign of feces through the open garage door, the report said.
The officer left and around midday spoke with the homeowner, the report said, telling him that the garage appeared to have been cleaned and the investigation considered closed, the report said.
The homeowner “related that he didn’t think the situation was that bad and requested who the complainant was,” it said. The officer told him that he could request a copy of the report.