Donations have been pouring in for 60 dogs seized from a barn in Bethlehem by Connecticut State Police on Thursday afternoon after the animals were found living in "inadequate" conditions.
Troopers served search and seizure warrants for cruelty to animals at a property on Watertown Road about 3 p.m.
The animals, which were of various sizes and breeds, were found "in various states of health and the living conditions were deemed inadequate," according to state police.
All the dogs have been taken to local shelters and kennels for treatment. About a dozen of the dogs were in good shape, the rest were still being treated on Friday.
The state police are investigating the owner of an animal rescue group, Fred Acker. According to the state department of agriculture, Acker runs a privately-owned dog rescue and is not affiliated with the state.
"While most rescue groups are wonderful, we need to change the laws to protect all these animals because not every rescue is great as we see," said Bethlehem Animal Control Officer Judy Umstead. "And we're limited in what we can do."
Acker has an extensive criminal history, which includes nearly 40 counts of illegally importing animals from this July and the state is considering possibly pulling his importer's license, which would stop him from bringing dogs into the state.
Donations were brought to the Bethlehem Town Hall on Friday afternoon and there were at least a dozen big bags of dog food. A local woman also stopped by and dropped off a cash donation.
"I was devastated, I really was," said Angela Kacerguis, who donated food on Friday. "I couldn't believe it."
Kacerguis was not the only person who donated on Friday.
"We've had local people, someone from canton, someone from Bristol, they just brought bags and bags of dog food, which has been really nice," said Bethlehem First Selectman's Secretary Janet Turner.
None of the dogs will be available for adoption. The animals could ultimately end up going back to their owner. Of course the investigation has to be complete and the courts have to rule before they can be released for adoption.
The investigation is still active, according to state police. No charges have been filed as of Friday afternoon.
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