Pet Parents Speak Out After Animal Abuse Shelter Owner Arrested

GLASTONBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Days after state police arrested a pet shelter owner for animal cruelty, people who have adopted from the shelter have mixed feelings.

Those who have chosen to adopt pets from Connecticut Pregnant Dog and Cat Rescue in Glastonbury are trying to make sense of recent events.

Joann Connelly, 59, was arrested on three counts of animal cruelty. Investigators seized more than 70 animals from Connelly’s property in Hebron where they found several dogs, cats, birds, a pony, goats and geese all living in what they called “deplorable” conditions and ” extremely unsanitary”. An animal control officer said the smell was so strong he “had trouble breathing even while wearing an N95 respirator”.

Those involved in the rescue posted on the company’s Facebook account that “Connelly’s heart was in the right place” but “was overwhelmed by the number of animals she was trying to help”.

People who have adopted animals from the shelter have had both positive and negative experiences.

Kristi King, who adopted dogs Luna and Buddy, told News 8 that she adopted them from the rescue center, and although she only planned to adopt one, she felt compelled to adopt another.

“[The owner] says, “I can’t take him home, I already have 20 puppies there to take care of, I have a cracked rib, I’m going through a divorce, I have to sell my house,” , said the king.

Now she said she has $1,500 in bills and she’s “trying to figure out what’s going on with these puppies.”

King soon realized that the second dog, Buddy, was in trouble. She noted that he had a very wide gait and could see that something was wrong with his spine. Now she sees that both dogs have symptoms of worms.

On the other hand, Jodette Bentley, a volunteer and adopted at the shelter, has known Connelly for years and has adopted cats from her.

“I know a lot of other people, people I referred to Joann who adopted her and had great experiences,” Bentley told News 8.

Bentley said she started helping Connelly organize cases for the rescue and recently noticed Connelly was acting frantically.

“I know Joann has a huge heart and she was just trying to make sure as many animals as possible were saved,” Bentley said, noting that “sometimes you find yourself in a situation that gets out of control.”

King thinks Connelly should have known what she could handle, noting that her dogs are sick, have a spinal problem and now have worms. She asks herself: “what happens next?”

“She shouldn’t be allowed to own animals because she obviously doesn’t know when enough is enough,” King said.

Connelly was reportedly renovating the Glastonbury site to increase capacity.

Currently, Connelly is being held on $10,000 bail and is due in court on Monday.