A Connecticut dog trainer is charged with animal cruelty. Documents detail evidence of 2 ’emaciated’ animals. – Hartford Courant

The owner of a Connecticut dog training and boarding facility, which now operates under a new name, is soon to appear in court to face animal cruelty charges based on what investigators alleged discovered after two dogs in his care “mauled and killed” a mini schnauzer, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Thomas Hunt Jr., 56, of Naugatuck, was charged with two counts of animal cruelty at his former facility Eagle K-9 Academy, 809 Carrington Road, Bethany, records show. He is due to appear in New Haven Superior Court on August 12. Prosecutor Joseph Lamotta declined to comment as the case is ongoing.

The training center has been renamed Perfection with Affection K-9 Academy at the same address. Thomas Hunt Jr. and another man are listed as the best members of the training team.

In addition to the criminal charges, state animal control inspections last year cited alleged safety and health violations at Eagle K-9 Academy, now marked “TEMP. CLOSED” on its website.

Hunt’s attorney, Sally Pruitt, did not return multiple calls for comment.

Hunt said in a text, “I have been instructed not to comment.”

Hunt’s criminal charges stem from the alleged extreme weight loss of two cane corso dogs that sat at his facility for several months, according to the warrant affidavit. The Cane Corso breed is an Italian mastiff breed usually kept as a companion or guard dog.

The condition of the dogs – one called ’emaciated’ in the warrant affidavit – came to the attention of Woodbridge Animal Control after Hunt reported by telephone on April 8 that the corsos had ‘mutilated and killed’ the miniature schnauzer.

Hunt told animal control the attack happened after an employee “failed to secure a latch,” according to a warrant written by animal control officer Karen Lombardi.

The attacking dogs – one male, one female – were taken to Woodbridge Animal Control Center for quarantine and found to be “grossly inadequate”, the warrant affidavit states.

Lombardi wrote in the warrant affidavit: “It is through my training and expertise that I know this is a training tactic to starve the animal for the purpose of using food as a reward. .”

The terms of reference document the weight issues in detail.

Moose, a 4-year-old, 11-month-old male, weighed 87.3 pounds, while veterinary records showed that about two months earlier, Moose weighed 130 pounds, according to the warrant.

The other cane corso, a female, Nova, 3 years and 9 months old, weighed 88.7 pounds. and records from two months earlier showed she weighed 98 pounds, according to the warrant.

The warrant says that on April 12, Lombardi, along with state animal control officer Charles DellaRocco, interviewed the owners of the dogs, a North Haven man who told them he dropped the dogs off. boarding because he was going through a divorce and needed a seat. for them during the transition.

The owner told animal control officers he dropped off the dogs in December 2021 in “good health”, but now looked “malnourished and skin over bone”. indicates the mandate.

On April 12, the dogs were taken to Milford Animal Clinic and examined by a veterinarian who confirmed the dogs were underweight, with Moose’s ‘spine and ribs’ in full view during an examination visual, according to the warrant affidavit.

Hunt told investigators he fed the dogs “six cups of food a day,” the warrant says.

When a state inspector noted in January 2022 that the dogs’ rabies vaccinations were outdated, Hunt is quoted in the warrant as saying, “I probably should have taken them to the vet.”

Shortly after the investigation began, the Carrington Road facility was renamed Perfection with Affection K-9 Academy.

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The Perfection with Affection website states its slogan as: “Strengthening the bond of trust between dogs and their people”.

Eagle K-9’s slogan was “Perfection with Affection”.

The Perfection with Affection “team” is listed as Thomas Hunt Sr., “a certified master trainer who graduated from the US K9 Academy approximately 30 years ago,” as the defendant, Thomas Hunt Jr., describes as “a certified master trainer and started training dogs at a young age. He graduated from the US K9 Academy. Thomas Jr. also served four years in the United States Marine Corps.

A message from Thomas Jr. on the website states, “When you say a dog is a man’s best friend, that’s our ultimate goal. Seeing the transformation from a feral pup into a well-behaved, happy dog ​​is amazing and what keeps us going here.

Last year, the Eagle K-9 Academy received at least one warning from the State Department’s Animal Control Unit after an inspection, and the inspections revealed suspected violations, according to records obtained through freedom of information law.

In many cases, the alleged violations related to safety and sanitation.

Alleged violations include: feces and urine in pens and kennels, puddle of urine in hall, no mechanical ventilation, inadequate drainage, old fence with no roof, extremely dirty fan and ceiling , lack of repairs can cause injury, mice feces near a kitchen sink. A report said five of nine dogs were not up to date with rabies vaccines and eight of nine did not have a license.

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