Alan Weisenberg said he simply wanted his dog, Bambi, to die with her family instead of be euthanized. Now, he is facing animal cruelty charges for allowing his 18-year-old Chihuahua to live so long.
Weisenberg said Bambi was old and that her health was deteriorating because she did have arthritis in her left leg. But she had never showed any pain or cried, so he never made the decision to put her down. He never realized this decision would cause him to possibly go to jail.
It all started on September 17. It was a nice sunny day and Weisenberg, a West Hartford, Connecticut resident, said Bambi wanted to be outside because she liked sitting in the sun and being out in the warm weather. He tied her to a tree in the yard with a 15 foot long cord and went to work for five to six hours.
When Weisenberg came back from work, he was shocked to find a police officer and an animal control officer on his property. Someone had called to say that Bambi was dead in the yard when instead Bambi was just laying out in the sun.
Bambi was in the Animal Control truck when Weisenberg approached his house. He said that Animal Control Officer Karen Jones told him if he allowed her to put Bambi down, she wouldn’t charge him with animal cruelty charges. He added that Jones told him that when dogs get old, they should be put down.
Weisenberg told Jones, “Who are you to tell me to put my dog down? If she’s dying, she can die at home with her family.”
Weisenberg’s roommate said he saw the whole incident and confirmed Weisenberg’s account, “She was threatening to arrest [Weisenberg] and fine him if he didn’t release the dog to her.”
Because Weisenberg refused to euthanize Bambi, Animal Control took Bambi to an animal hospital and she stayed there for ten days until Weisenberg’s attorney sent authorities a letter demanding that Bambi be returned to her owner.
On September 27, Bambi was returned to Weisenberg. When he got her back, he said, “She was always thin, but they gave me back a skeleton … they put her in a kennel somewhere where she was scared to death, probably a cubicle with a hard cement floor … she was so happy to see me.”
Bambi died in her sleep on October 5.
On October 16, officers showed up on Weisenberg’s property with an arrest warrant. He turned himself into authorities the next day.
Weisenberg now has a December 11 court date to await his fate. He faces up to a year in jail.
Authorities could not comment on the case because of the pending court date. But police reports and affidavits add more to the story.
In the arrest warrant affidavit, Jones said she felt Bambi needed emergency care and said that “Weisenberg insisted the dog was fine, just old and that he did not have the funding to pay for her care and might soon be losing his used car business.”
The police report said the animal hospital recommended euthanizing Bambi when she arrived on September 17. But a letter from an animal clinic that checked out Bambi on September 27 before she was released to Weisenberg made no such suggestion. The letter stated that there were no signs of physical abuse or cruelty. They only advised Weisenberg to “eliminate outside tethering for extended periods of time because of age and health issues.”
When asked under what circumstances would a dog owner be legally compelled to put a pet down, the state Animal Control Division said there were none. If Jones did actually try to pressure Weisenberg to euthanize Bambi, she overstepped her authority as an Animal Control officer.
Source: Hartford Advocate