Convicted twice on animal cruelty charges, on Tuesday the former head of an animal rescue group once again faced a judge and learned his fate.
Just one week ago Fred Acker, his attorney, and his supporters made a pitch as to why he should be spared prison time.
After taking everything into account, the judge sentenced him to a year behind bars on Tuesday.
Convicted on 11 counts of animal cruelty, a judge sentenced Acker to a year in prison, also telling him he can no longer have a role with any animal rescue organization, and must give up all of his animals within 30 days.
"I think Mr. Acker gets a really bad reputation with the public which he does not deserve, we fully intend to appeal this conviction. I think the sentence in this case was a little too harsh,” said defense attorney Igor Kuperman.
Acker headed up the private rescue group called The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut.
The Milford case centered on a conviction for animal cruelty after Acker was neglecting a number of dogs he sent to Who's Your Doggie Kennel in 2012.
He then brought the dogs to Bethlehem, where in November of that year, the town seized 63 dogs, saying Acker was keeping them in conditions that were too cold. He was convicted on 15 counts there, but avoided jail time.
"That’s someone who spent the majority of his life caring for animals, is not understood or appreciated, stripped of all his rights to even volunteer at a shelter, I think it's a little extreme,” said Alice McQuaidm who is an Acker supporter.
As for this sentencing, animal rights advocates say it sends a message.
"These courts, these judges are finally starting to wake up and realize this is an epidemic,” said Donna Ploss, of East Hartford.
While Acker appeals his sentence, the judge ruled he is still to have no contact or custody of animals during that process.
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