Man Faces Animal Cruelty Charges For Allowing Dog To Live So Long


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

(Thanks Chris)

47 Responses to “Man Faces Animal Cruelty Charges For Allowing Dog To Live So Long”

  1. Nora and Rufus says:

    This animal control “B” needs to STEP BACK! It absolutely enrages me that she was put in the shelter kennel where she would have been subjected to the stress of noise and kennel cough and terrified without her family. It sounds to me that the stay at the shelter contributed to her death! Poor little Bambi. She will be faithfully waiting for her humans at the Rainbow Bridge, warm and safe.

  2. Lynne says:

    “The letter stated that there were no signs of physical abuse or cruelty.”

    Until animal control got hold of her.

    Honestly, I’m seeing such a rise in militaristic attitudes among law enforcement of all types, from shooting dogs in front of the owners to tasering someone who refused to sign a traffic ticket. It scares me.

    I completely agree with the owner. My husband had terminal cancer. He suffered his last 3 months. I didn’t “put him down”. He fought hard to live to the very last minute. Why is it different for a dog?
    Mine will die at home, with me, unless it is obvious to me that they are in such pain that continuing their lives would be cruel. In that case, they can’t make that decision so I would have to make it for them. I dread that day either way.

  3. Nancy says:

    Where does animal control get the authority to dictate when a dog is “too old” to be allowed to live? The dog was not suffering, except while in the care of animal control where she was likely very frightened and not provided the nutrition and TLC she needed to maintain her health. At least she was allowed to return home before she passed away (no doubt hastened by the experience with animal control).

    Over the years I have had many geriatrics. They get to live as long a life as I can provide them, to the point where they no longer have any quality of life or begin to suffer from an illness that can not be treated. I will not allow them to suffer, but nor will I shortchange them a moment of life just for my own personal convenience. When and if to end their life remains MY decision, in concert with the treating veterinarian, and is not the business of anyone else.

  4. Nancy G. says:

    IMO what animal control did to her was what was cruel, it probably did hasten her death. I am so sick of authorities increasingly thinking they must make decisions for everybody, about anything. Are we becoming a police state?

  5. Jenny Bark says:

    I agree with all of you. I don’t know of any animal or human that does not want to go outside when their time on this earth is getting short. I don’t know if it is they fell closer to God or nature but I do know it is a special time for them. Remember that poor old kitty that AC (dog catcher) took off of the owners property even thou the neighbor said no that the kitty was just old & well taken care of. That poor baby didn’t even get to die with it’s owner who loved it.

    Nancy G., ” Are we becoming a police state?”. It sure looks like we are with us paying & paying for them to do it. Imo it looks like all the good decent people who follow the law are getting their rights taken away every day & asked to pay them more to do it.

    Who would know if an animal is suffering more than the people who have loved it for years? So sas.

  6. sylvia says:

    This is what you get when morons are in positions of authority. FIRE her now!!! What is happening in this country all of a sudden? Big brother is watching all of us from every angle. I am positive this nut woman and the West Hartford authorities caused Bambi’s demise. Karen Jones should be charged with animal cruelty and all who enabled her should too.

  7. Dennis says:

    This is just more of the latest political correctness gone out of control and amuck.

    My two kitties lived to 21 years old. Had I followed this warped thinking they would have been put down probably by age 12 to 15. Neither were in pain and were taken to the vet the moment they looked like they were. Both were euthanized by my decision when they were no longer comfortable and enjoying life. Both were able to climb and descend basement stairs until their last days.

    Perhaps the proper response to this AC would have been to take the dog to the owner’s regular vet, explain the warped militant’s thinking and ask the vet their opinion. Then take that vet assessment to a judge asking for an emergency restraining order against the animal control officer based upon the vet’s expert opinion.

    Any elderly animal when stressed may expire from just the trauma of being stressed. Being removed from the animal’s home, removed from the obvious owner’s grasp, overhearing a verbal fight between the owner and the animal control officer, being in a small cage, being exposed to fumes from the truck, perhaps being sprayed or dipped in flea insecticide, not having their regular food, and having more strange people mess with the elderly dog did nothing to improve the dog’s health. In fact, I’d be tempted to sue the animal control officer personally on the basis of her actions destroying the dog. The intent of the suit isn’t to win financially but to send the strong message to the city and the AC - don’t ever do this again and while we’re at it, here is a permanent injunction - don’t ever come onto this property again. I can just see that AC picking an elderly animal up the “wrong” way and causing pain from an arthritic joint from being an idiot who knows nothing about this particular dog.

    Don’t think a judge won’t issue a permanent injunction against city officials to prevent them from doing something. I’ve read about a crazy one several years back in a newspaper. It was some erotic bookstore whose “rights” were violated by the police who were then prohibited from ever re-entering that bookstore. Weird but true.

    Now there comes a time when the pet is in pain and suffering and it is kind to end that. It should not be AC that determines that time, rather the owner’s vet and the owner together. Only when an animal is abandoned and in distress should AC have their vet decide whether the animal should be put down.

  8. Hazel Chambers says:

    This is INSANE. I hope he sues this idiot AC.

  9. CGP says:

    This is truly frightening. How dare an animal control officer tell an owner of a well-cared for pet that age is the only consideration in euthanization? My own beloved terrier mix died after a long illness. He was slowly declining, but his quality of life was still good. He would sit on my front porch in the morning during Spring enjoying the fresh air and cool breeze. He died peacefully a short time later, and I cherish our time together.

    I agree - we’re becoming a police state. This is a frightening trend.

  10. Sundown says:

    I agree with the other comments. But do have one major issue with what this owner did with Bambi. Why the heck was such an old decrepit dog tied outdoors on a 15 foot tether. for 5 or 6 hours, when his owner was not even home???? This was a tiny dog. Any roaming dog could have come along and viciously attacked this poor defenseless little girl. And there is no shortage of roaming, danerous dogs here in CT. My large dog just got bitten in the face by a roaming dog on Thanksgiving, in my own yard, while I was only feet away from her.

  11. Michelle says:

    I can’t believe this animal control officer! It makes me so furious to know that people can just go around ordering other people to euthanize their own member of the family. The fact that Bambi lived such a long life in the first place proves that Weinsberg had to have been doing SOMETHING right. This whole thing is just unbelievably preposterous to me.

    As for Sundown’s comment about leaving Bambi tied outdoors for so long: I see your point, but I’m sure Weinsberg knew all the people and animals in the area and felt that Bambi would be safe. It doesn’t look to me like he would ever try to intentionally hurt her.

    Kudos to Weinsberg for refusing to euthanize Bambi and standing up to the animal control officer. I hope he wins the case and that she gets FIRED.

  12. Carolyn & Maggie says:

    Sundown, I wondered the same thing. Tethered to a tree for 5-6 hrs. while he went to work? (” He tied her to a tree in the yard with a 15 foot long cord and went to work for five to six hours…”). It was Sep. 17, what if the weather did not stay nice all day — or could she get into the shade if she needed to? Could she have been rained upon? What if she was stolen. What if she was attacked by another dog. Did she have water? While I realize the owner thought he was doing something nice for Bambi by letting her outside on a nice day (and if she lived 18 yrs. then he must have been doing something right), I find leaving her unsupervised pretty scary. No way would I leave my dog tethered alone, too much could go wrong and I would never forgive myself if it did.

  13. Anon says:

    I wouldn’t call this a well cared for dog. An elderly dog in ill health tied to a tree unsupervised while the owner was at work. The owner deserves to have this dog taken from him.

  14. Lis says:

    Don’t think a judge won’t issue a permanent injunction against city officials to prevent them from doing something. I’ve read about a crazy one several years back in a newspaper. It was some erotic bookstore whose “rights” were violated by the police who were then prohibited from ever re-entering that bookstore. Weird but true.

    Dennis, I’m not sure why you apparently find it so astonishing that an erotic bookstore would have rights that are protected under the Constitution, just like any other business and any other person. People are actually entitled to read and distrribute material that, perhaps, neither you nor I would approve of.

    As for this case–It was surely bad judgment for Weisenberg to leave Bambi tethered outside all day while he was at work, but the animal hospital that examined her said there was no evidence of abuse or neglect, and was content to simply tell her owner to not do that again. That someone who thought Bambi was dead would call it in is natural, that the AC officer should be concerned about the dog being tethered outside all day while the owner was not home is natural and correct–but that she should try to pressure him to euthanize his dog just because she’s old is outrageously inappropriate. As is the fact that it took ten days for him to get his dog back after the animal hospital determined that she was okay, just old, not ill or neglected or abused.

  15. Cate says:

    A dog should never be left outside, tethered while the owners are not home period.

    I don’t leave my dog outside unattended ever. If I am outside working in the yard and he is out of my sight I check on him after a few minutes. What was he thinking?

    This poor dog was at the mercy of a predator - animal or human. The fact that he was tethered meant that he wouldn’t even be able to escape a predator. Animal control wouldn’t have been able to seize him had he been inside.

    Animal control was wrong but, Weisenberg showed extremely poor judgement.

  16. straybaby says:

    “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.”

    sounds like the roommate may have been around part of the time. many people still leave their dogs tethered and while i never would unattended, i understand him leaving her out to sunbathe. one of my senior cat’s favorite things was to sunbathe in the sunbeams on the floor. i would position beds around for him so he could catch rays in the different rooms :)

    the AC officer REALLY overstepped and i’m shocked they were able to keep the pup as long as they did. if the dog wasn’t suffering, there was NO reason to remove her from the premise. i find it a bit shocking since is generally hard to get them to come out in instances of REAL abuse AND remove the animals. unless an animal is in dire need of care, they usually give the owner time to correct the situation . . . and they leave a notice if an owner isn’t there.

    wow. pretty scary when you don’t have control over your pets lives. i wonder when i’m supposed to put my cats to sleep? a couple are 15 . . . .

  17. Sarah Banderleigh says:

    I’ve got a 17 year old mixed breed who is blind and has arthritis in his hind quarters. He’s as active as he can be at that age, eats well and isn’t suffering debilitating pain. Yes, he’s thin from loss of muscle mass and yes he hobbles around but his life isn’t a constant misery. If and when he gets to the point where he is in constant pain and can’t do his doggy things anymore, I’ll do what’s right for him.

    That person from animal control has no idea what that dog’s quality of life is. She hasn’t spent every day with that dog for 18 years. Unless she can show the dog was suffering, her euthanization recommendation was unwarranted. Old dogs need more care and more attention and if the owner is willing to provide it, animal control needs to back off.

  18. Lynne says:

    Nancy G., ” Are we becoming a police state?”.
    Yes, we are:

  19. Tanya says:

    I havn’t read the other’s comments yet, but this is something i always fear. that our govt (or adoption agencies, or rescues) will decide that *they* and not *we* are the best people at making this critical decision.

    I did the exact opposite as this man, and put my cat down “early” to some. should i be penalized for killing my pet? Should someone who belives that animals are part of nature and should die a natural death (even if it’s painful) be told thier belifes are wrong?

    These are our pets, not yours. sighs. we know what’s best for us, and for “our best friends”, not some government, some agency, or some rescue.

  20. Tanya says:

    by the way, those chastising the owner, you have no idea what the situation was, so why chastise him? You don’t know that the dog did not have water, but you assumed he did.

    the dog had lived to the ripe old age of 18 already, I suspect he knew what his dog liked, what the neighborhood around was like, etc. yes, something *could* have happened, but at teh same time a dog living in the house *could* have had a heart attack, or the house *could* have been broken into.

    give the guy a break, the dog sounds well loved and cared for, given the sparse info of the article.

  21. Belgian_owner says:

    As the dog lived to be 18, I sincerely doubt this guy was negligent enough to leave his dog outside without water or food/shelter nearby. Why is the AC doing more harm than good these days?

  22. CGP says:

    I agree it was unwise to leave the dog tethered for so long. However, the owner has a history of good pet ownership. Who among us hasn’t made an error in judgment from time to time?

  23. Bill says:

    Stupidity on the part of the owner? Yes. But, that still does not justify gestapo tactics by the animal control officer. Now we have to worry about cops invading our homes to kill our pets AND animal control deciding how long our pets should live.

    I thought we were living in the Land of the Free.

  24. mittens says:

    this is what happens when little insignificant people are given to believe they have POWER and are encouraged in it by not being chastized for their gross errors in judgement and when the ‘ authorities’ they work for are encouraged to overstep their bounds and micromanage other people’s lives to the point of tyranny.

    animal control officers more often then not are coming off in most of these posted stories as tin whistle dollar store security guards itching to beat someone with their club. from this sad story to congo’s captor who thinks raw meat makes dogs vicious to deputies shooting dogs without a hearing on unproven heresay-these people clearly do not belong in these positions and should have absolutely no authority over anything larger than, say , the sorting forks and spoons in a dishroom.

    my cats all lived to be over 20 and healthy every damn day of it. i will decide when to have them euthanized. they are legally my property. if one was a tad arthritic- id carry her around or place kitty stairs up to her favorite places. if she was having a few litter box accidents due to age related issues i will clean it up and put wee wee pads down. as long as she’s eating, happy and not in pain i will not rob her of our last days, years or months together because some no nothing wants to bully people and inflat their pathetic little egos. i dont even have a dog anymore and i know more about canine behavior then most of these tools. all it takes is observation and having owned a pet yourself. common sense and respect are being abandoned in this country. and it is a lack of respect. god how i hate humans.

  25. toni says:

    This idiotic AC officer took 10 days of peace, quiet and love of Bambi’s family from her at the end of her life. Would she want HUMANS EUTHANIZED when they are old and thin? My nursing home is full of Alzheimer’s patients that don’t remember HOW to eat. She would have a field day here. What a tool. My best friend in the world just passed away - He was a 20 yrs + 3 months old Maine Coon that died in my arms. Guess she would have wanted him “put down” too.

  26. Don Earl says:

    The part I don’t understand is how someone working for the government can go onto a citizen’s land, and confiscate a citizen’s property - without a warrant, without due process, and without any kind of threat to the public safety.

    I’m about ready to find some nice third world country and go ex-patriot before the riots start. The way things are in this country today makes Chairman Mao look like Nelson Mandella.

  27. Katie says:

    Having had several senior dogs, one who lived to 17 of a breed who is lucky to see 12, I find it disturbing that a gov’t employee could tell me my pets are to old and need to be euthanized. Only a pet’s owner should make that decision with the help and guidance of their veternarian.

    I hope the the judge in this case rules in favor of Mr Weisenberg and tells Animal Control that Ms Jones needs to find a new job not related to animals.


  28. Robert Davis says:

    Welcome to the American Soviet Socialist Republic. Let me check with the police (government) to see when I should eat, bathe, poop, go to work and when me and my family and pets should die.

  29. Robert Davis says:

    With all the problems we are hearing, it sounds like time to have our community leaders push for new training on what it is supposed to mean to be a peace officer in this country.

    I know there are good ones and it is sad for them to get a bad rap due to stupid people.

  30. Tanya says:

    Don Earl

    That question is easy, and it’s a good answer when you realize what the law is *supposed* to do.

    The law in almost all juristictions allows anyone who is in a position of authority to go onto property if an animal is in *imediate* harm or threat to it’s *imediate* life. If you have literally starved your dog till it cannot stand anymore. If the chain you had your dog on, had somehow twisted and was choaking the animal. if a neighbor shot your animal, ect.

    the problem isn’t that the law can step in when it NEEDS to , the problem is that officers do not adhere to teh “in *imediate* danger” aspect of the law.

  31. trudyjackson says:

    I was in womans house who had too many cats when the animal control officer came right in, with the police. They didn’t ask to come in, they just came right in. She had too many, but the house and cats were well taken care of.
    anyway, when I tried to talk about what a nice woman, and house this was- The animal control officer grabbed Her gun, and the police man actually took His out- told Me to sit down and shut up or i was going to jail.
    So, they can and will come right on your property.
    They ended up taking All Her cats and said She can never have another animal in the state of Va. Of course, Va. is a commonwealth so I thought that might make a difference. i guess not.

  32. trudyjackson says:

    Also, if this woman came to My house She would take My old cat away. she is very thin, and doesn’t see well. Looks bad. But I just had Her at the vets, and He said as long as Her quality of life was good, then He didn’t want to put her down. I’ll know when the time comes.
    Jenny Bark, I didn’t know this. She loves to go and sit on the porch now. i have to make Her come back in. But She really likes it right there.

  33. kathy says:

    We have been a police state for a few years now. How could no one have noticed?

  34. trucorgi says:

    Does tethering a dog rise to the level of criminal animal cruelty/neglect? Apparently this animal control officer thinks so and will now have to prove it in court. According to the law you can’t throw someone in jail for this. Not sure who determines what is “an unreasonable period of time”. I guess it will be a judge now. If anything, Mr. Weisenberg should have only received a fine of not more than $100 according to the law. The fact that they seized his dog and held her for 10 days seems to be a violation of his rights.
    Here’s the law:
    Chapter 435. Dogs and Other Companion Animals. Kennels and Pet Shops
    Sec. 22-350a. Tethering and confining of dog for unreasonable period of time. Fine.
    Any person who confines or tethers a dog for an unreasonable period of time shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars for the first offense, not less than one hundred dollars or more than two hundred fifty dollars for a second offense, and not less than two hundred fifty dollars or more than five hundred dollars for any subsequent offense.

    This legislation was, no doubt a result of the lobbying efforts of HSUS and the animal rights movement. Unless citizens start challenging these laws in court we will loose our right to own and care for our pets. We all need to think about this and stop allowing laws to be passed with gray language like “unreasonable period of time”. To Mr. Weisenberg 5-6 hours was reasonable. To this animal control officer the dog would be better off dead. I don’t happen to think that is reasonable at all.

  35. KimS says:

    Cautionary tale. Don’t tether. But, my god, how does the animal control officer get away with making up her own rules? Sad.

  36. Robert Davis says:

    Don Earl - loved your comment! I agree!

  37. trucorgi says:

    KimS-Because this law leaves it open for her interpretation. It’s a bad law!

    Read it again “Any person who confines or tethers a dog for an unreasonable period of time shall be fined”

    What is “confined”? Could be a crate or a fence, Aren’t all dogs confined in some way?

    What is a “tether”? A leash is a tether. Every groomer tethers a dog on the table in a noose. Sled dogs, guard dogs and many working dogs are always tethered.

    And what is “unreasonable”? If you want a law like this on the books, then for God’s sake be specific!

    I don’t think any dog should live their life on a chain, but tethering in and of itself, is not necessarily cruel and should not be criminalized.

  38. The Lioness says:

    This story made me cry. Who the h*** was this woman to think she knew better than the man who lived with this dog for 18 years? Holy cow! I really hope this case gets tossed!

    Sure. Maybe he made a mistake tethering her. Maybe he should have asked his roommate to let her out when he/she got home and watch her or something.

    We just lost a 14 year old marema (Italian sheep dog.) For a dog that size to live that long is unusual, but she did. She was arthritic in her hips, but my parents’ vet never once suggested it was time to put her down. She was on arthritis medication. My family was never charged with animal cruelty for LETTING THEIR DOG GET OLD!

    WTF, people?

    I really feel for this man. I don’t want him to go to jail. I really think he loved his dog, and I also strongly feel he would have KNOWN when it was time for Bambi to go.

    ~The Lioness

  39. TEALCSMOMMY says:


  40. Kiki says:

    We need to ban together. That woman should be the one charged with animal cruelty.

  41. Thel Josenhans says:

    I think the , ” Animal Control officer ” had no feeling for Bambi , is a …IDIOT , Should be fired , She , absolutely , caused the death , of Bambi , by having Her taken away , starved , hoping , she would die , & God only knows , what they gave Her , to make Her die , the Animal control officer , over steped her authority , playing…….. GOD ,
    who lives & who dies . Mr. Weisenberg ……… do us all , a favor ,
    get a lawyer ………. bring this ……… so called Animal Control Officer ,
    down , Why they hire people , that hate animals , I guess , they have to be a mean …….. B…….. to take the job , they are no friend of animals ,
    they like to order people around , to show , they can , do any dam thing , they want. T.K.J. Thel

  42. DogPressOrg says:

    Additional new postings of this article for your review and their comments. Seems ‘everyone’ on all sights agree. This is not criminal cruelty. Mistake in judgment maybe, but not criminal cruelty. Dismiss the case.
    Link as follows:

  43. Sylvia says:

    It appears that the only thing the owner did wrong (VERY WRONG) was to tie the dog to a tree and leave it for hours - or at all. Animal Control should have addressed that NOT the age of the animal, that was none of their business.

  44. Buffy says:

    This is so dirty what this animal control did to this man who had a dog that lived over a century in dog-human years. I read this article and more comments, on a new link here,

    And I now found this site as well. Get the word out about this government gone ‘maddog’ on control. Anyone can ‘jackup’ a warrant on meaningless issues when they want to ‘get you’ for standing up to their power and control madness thru our pets.

  45. Georgia says:

    Before everyone reacts with such ire and readiness to attack animal control, you might want to take a look at the warrant. Bambi has a dislocated kneecap, was a 1.9 out of 10 on the body composition scale (1 being emaciated, 10 being obese), and had extensive periodontal disease and abscesses that probably made it very painful for her to eat the kibble he left out, and apparently ate “ravenously” when she was offered wet food. She had pus in the discharge from her eyes and nose.

    It seems there might be more to this story than Mr. Weisenberg would like us to know. He told animal control that he didn’t intend on investing any more money on his elderly dog. I’m not saying animal control was 100% right here, but I don’t think Weisenberg is the wrongly persecuted saint he’s coming off as being.

  46. Ben says:

    Didn’t living a long life used to be something to be PROUD of?

  47. TammiSue says:

    Not just anyone gets copies of warrants to broadcast on the Internet. Looks like the animal control officer is doing some ‘public executions’ of her own, now doesn’t it.

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