New Canaan Landlord Leaves 12 Neglected Dogs In Unwitting Tenants' Apartment, Police Say

A New Canaan woman was charged with three felonies after allegedly neglecting 12 dogs, three of which died from a canine virus easily prevented by a vaccine.

Catherine "Cassie" Daria Palmer, 48, was charged with three felonies for animal cruelty.
Catherine "Cassie" Daria Palmer, 48, was charged with three felonies for animal cruelty. Photo Credit: New Canaan Police Department
Catherine "Cassie" Daria Palmer, 48, was charged with three felonies for animal cruelty.
Catherine "Cassie" Daria Palmer, 48, was charged with three felonies for animal cruelty. Photo Credit: New Canaan Police Department

The three-month-long investigation began on Wednesday, Aug. 12, when one of 48-year-old Catherine Daria Palmer's two tenants called the New Canaan police to 151 Butler Lane. 

An officer wearing a body camera was sent to the scene, according to police, along with an animal control officer because there was a history of disputes between Palmer and her tenant. 

This footage, along with interviews, a search warrant, the autopsy of three dead puppies and the seizure and examination of animals still living on the property were used to justify Palmer's arrest.

When officers arrived at the scene, according to a sworn affidavit provided by the New Canaan Police Department, the tenant was holding a small, unresponsive Maltese puppy named Gracie. 

The tenant told police that, although the Butler Lane home was listed as her landlord Palmer's address, Palmer did not live there, just routinely dropped off dogs and rented out the home. 

At the time, there were five puppies in the household, police said. 

The tenant allegedly told police that the sick puppy in her arms was not there when she went to bed the previous evening and suspected that Palmer had come in the night to swap that animal out with another healthy puppy -- the sick puppy, they said, was much smaller than the other five. 

The tenants told police that they had sent a text message to Palmer, telling her of the puppy's condition and notifying her that they had called the police. 

Palmer became defensive when she arrived at the scene, police said, and denied that she had switched out the sick puppy for a healthy one. 

Police at the scene said they were able to see three puppies between nine and 12 weeks of age in a gated area in the apartment's kitchen, along with two small adult dogs. 

According to an affidavit written by responding police, although there was a bowl of dry food and water in view, the floor around the animals was covered in feces and urine, and the walls were in an "unsanitary" state for "both the tenants and dogs"--police took photos for evidence at that time.

The tenants told police that they paid Palmer monthly rent, police said, and that there had been no verbal or contractual agreement for them to care for "the continuous flow of puppies." 

They said they would feed and care for the animals because they "felt badly" for the animals, and Palmer was never at the property to clean them or feed them. 

One of the tenants, police said, provided documents that showed the multiple sources of the puppies, vaccination records without signatures from veterinarians and bills of sale from puppies that Palmer had sold. 

As they left the property, police said they found a number of documents on the roadway that documented the purchase and illegal sale of the puppies. 

Police reportedly found Palmer advertising her puppies for sale on multiple Facebook groups, although she didn't have a license to do so. 

On Thursday, Nov. 12, one of the tenants wrote the animal control officer via email, saying that she planned to move out of the residence at that she "feared more puppies would die." 

She said that 12 puppies in total had been brought for the home's tenants to care for, two of which had been brought to the property the day before. 

After a warrant was issued for her arrest, police said Palmer surrendered herself at police headquarters on Sunday, Nov. 29. She was charged with three felony counts of animal cruelty for failing to provide the animals proper care, and was released on a $10,000 bond. 

"The [10] puppies and [2] adult dogs seized during this investigation are being well cared for and are thriving," said New Canaan Chief of Police Leon Krolikowski. 

In 2014, Palmer was arrested for physically and emotionally neglecting her two sons

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