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Animals pulled from New Haven Animal Shelter amid investigation


February 21, 2023 | New Haven | by Eva Zymaris


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Animals have been pulled from the New Haven Animal Shelter, a division of the city’s police department after officials found they were in poor health and needed better care.


One of those is Snow White, a pitbull terrier who is now in the hands of The Animal Haven in North Haven. Snow White arrived at The Animal Haven emaciated and with sores before her recovery.


“From the pictures of when she got there as a stray — she looked like a different dog,” said Michelle DeRosa, The Animal Haven’s shelter manager.


The Connecticut Department of Agriculture heard about the issues and requested an inspection of the New Haven Animal Shelter, which failed the investigation.


“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said. “We made some mistakes.”


New Haven city officials said changes are already being made to ensure the same issues won’t happen again.


The shelter is a division of the New Haven Police Department. Jacobson said some dogs come to the police in poor health.


“I know some came to us and then lost the weight and stopped eating,” he said. “I’m not using that as an excuse for all the situations.”


Jacobson said the animal control officer had been transferred out of the position. There is a new official in the role, in addition to two part-time officers and four civilians to help.

An internal affairs investigation is looking to uncover what happened.

“There’s a direct order now to photograph all the animals, keep weights, keep good records,” Jacobson said.


There are concerns about the shelter’s condition, as well.


“We have money already allocated to it,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said.

Those improvements will include a cleaner space that addresses challenges with heating and cooling.


Elicker visited the shelter Tuesday morning to see the situation for himself.

“My family has a dog, and I loved the dog more than anything in the world,” he said. “To think that any animal might not have the care that they need is just heartbreaking.”


The Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter, a volunteer group that’s not responsible for the day-to-day care of the animals, released a statement to News 8, saying in part:

“The Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter is committed to working with the New Haven Police Department and the Humane Commission to continue to aid the animals who are temporary residents at our shelter. We look forward to any changes which will help us with our mission.”


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