Beacon Falls kennel operator makes first court appearance in animal cruelty case
(WFSB) - The operator of a kennel in Beacon Falls had his first court appearance today, charged with cruelty to animals.
An I-Team investigation found several dogs have died at Beacon Paws since it opened in 2012.
After the I-Team’s investigation aired, a former employee reached out wanting to share her story.
“When I saw your article, I had to reach out for that family,” said Jessica Hayes.
Hayes says she worked at Beacon Paws for several months in the summer of 2014.
“It was just horribly run. I did not like it at all. That’s why I didn’t work there very long,” said Hayes.
Hayes drew a diagram of the business to explain why she thought the layout was dangerous.
“There was small stone porch, and then under the windows you had a little ledge and the dogs would congregate here,” said Hayes.
Hayes says because too many dogs were vying for a spot in the shade, fights would break out.
It’s why she wasn’t surprised to hear about Arty.
The 18-month old American bulldog Arty died at Beacon Paws in January.
Police reports say Arty was involved in a “skirmish”.
The owner of Beacon Paws did not seek veterinary care for Arty and found him dead in his kennel 36 hours later.
Police reports say Arty had at least 20 wounds and a punctured trachea.
A veterinarian told police there was a “neglect to render care, basic first aid and negligence in not seeking veterinary care immediately following the incident.”
Beacon Paws is owned by Gina Meder, but the day-to-day operations are run by her husband, George.
George Meder is charged with cruelty to animals.
He had his first court appearance in Derby Monday.
The I-Team tried to ask Meder’s lawyer questions after the hearing.
Meder’s attorney said, “I don’t care to comment. The case will play out in court.”
The I-Team discovered Arty is not the first dog to die under Meder’s watch.
Records show since the kennel opened in 2012 there have been four other complaints filed with the state. 3 of the dogs died. One other dog was injured. The state gave Beacon Paws 2 written warnings for cruelty.
One of the dogs that died was Taco.
He died in August 2022. State records show when the Taco died he had a temperature of 110 degrees. Taco’s owner raised questions about the temperature inside of Beacon Paws.
When state regulators visited, they found the temperature was around 73-75 degrees inside and all dogs appeared in good condition.
Air conditioning was one of Hayes’ concerns during her time working at Beacon Paws.
She says there was only one rolling air conditioning unit, and she was told to turn it off at night.
“It was just crazy. It was just not a well-run facility. There was no central air,” said Hayes
Both Haye’s and Arty’s family want to know what it will take to get Beacon Paws shut down.
Arty’s family and representatives from Desmond’s Army were in the courtroom Monday.
They say they plan to be at every hearing.
Meder’s attorney asked for more time to review evidence. Monday’s hearing adjourned quickly and a new date was set for April.
The Department of Agriculture regulates kennels. The department denied the I-Team’s request for an interview saying they do not discuss enforcement procedures.
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