Heidi Lueders, 31, of New Canaan, was first arrested for the crimes following the discovery of five dead dogs in crates at a rented Fairfield home in November 2018 by Fairfield Police.
But due to pressure from animal rights groups, prosecutors upgraded the charges to felonies on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
In court on Monday, Sept. 9, Lueders, the former president of the animal rescue group Bully Breed, was given until Oct. 11, to decide whether to take the plea deal that will result in some jail time, or face a jury, said News 12.
Lueders was said to be in the care of the five dogs that were found. However, the dogs were believed to have been sent to various sanctuaries and foster homes, according to a post on the Bully Breed Rescue Inc. website following her arrest.
Officials uncovered the real fate of the dogs when the landlord allegedly found skeletons of five dogs in the rented home. Police said at the time of her arrest, that the home was full of by trash, feces and drug paraphernalia.
Robin Cannamela, president of Desmond's Army, said members from their group go to court for animal abuse prosecutions as a way to hold the guilty accountable and as a voice for the voiceless.
"The whole animal rights community is in shock from this case," she said. "It's the most horrific we have seen and we are all devasted by the loss."
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