State animal control office probes slaying of German shepherd
"Buddy is a gentle boy. He likes to speak and chase balls. He's fully vetted and ready to go. He has an adorable quizzical face and he loves to be nuzzled. ... He's an easy fellow, everybody loves him."
An online adoption profile -- complete with a photo -- was supposed to be a ticket to brighter future for a down-on-his-luck German shepherd.
But less than 48 hours after he was placed with a foster family by a local adoption group, Buddy was dead, the victim of an apparent act of violence that has animal welfare advocates from Greenwich to Hartford demanding justice and investigators from the state searching for answers.
"This poor dog just never had a chance," said Jennifer Gordon, founder of Leader of the Rescue Pack, an adoption network in Rowayton.
Rescued from the Connecticut Humane Society's Westport shelter on July 22 by the group, the 5-year-old German shepherd was placed with a foster family in Middlefield July 26, said Gordon, who played the role of matchmaker.
The woman who adopted Buddy, and her boyfriend, had what Gordon characterized as a major change of heart, with the pair making claims that the dog bit its adoptive owner.
But by the time Gordon made arrangements for the return of Buddy, she said it was too late.
"By 3:30 p.m., he called me and said, `Buddy is never going to bite anyone again. I just put a bullet in his head,' " Gordon said the woman's boyfriend told her.
State Rep. Alfred Camillo, R-151 District, tipped off state animal control officers about the incident Tuesday, prompting them to launch a probe.
"Even if you don't love animals, one look at that dog, and it's hard not to be touched by his picture, his story and his untimely cruel death," said Camillo.
Ray Connors, the chief state animal control officer, confirmed the agency's involvement.
"I'm going to assign a state animal control officer to investigate the matter," Connors said.
Buddy's foster parents had yet to sign the final adoption papers with Gordon. Killing a dog owned by another person is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to the state's animal control office. If probable cause is established that a case of animal cruelty occurred, the sentence goes up to one year. A five-year sentence applies if malicious intent, a felony, can be proven.