SOUTHINGTON - One of two people charged in a local animal cruelty case has been denied a program that could have spared him prosecution.
Jason Savage, 41, and Kelly Savage, 38, of 21 Evan Road, each face animal cruelty charges after their three dogs were found stained with urine and feces, and had live fleas on their fur, according to police. The bedroom where the animals were locked - two of which had to be euthanized - was infested with bugs and reportedly smelled so bad that one of the officers who responded to investigate had to leave the home.
Jason Savage appeared Friday in Bristol Superior Court, where a judge denied his request for a first-time offender program that could have allowed him to walk with no record.
Judge John Cronan, in making his decision, said the program was designed for individuals who have an “oops moment” and not in instances in which something occurred over a long period of time.
“I cannot in good faith grant the program under these circumstances,” Cronan said.
Court officials have said Kelly Savage is not eligible for the same program because of a previous conviction. Her case is still pending.
Police were made aware of the dogs on Feb. 19 after a family member of the Savages was helping the couple move and saw the animals in a bedroom that was in terrible conditions. The woman was able to remove one of the smaller dogs, an older Maltese named Riley, and called police about the other two animals.
Police responded to the home and Kelly Savage agreed to sign the animals over to Animal Control. The two dogs were taken from her home, and the third one was later located and also taken by Animal Control. One of the dogs, Angel, a 9-year-old Shepherd Mastiff mix, had been diagnosed with cancer and was found in the couple’s home covered in tumors and underweight, with her ribs and pelvic bones visible, according to the arrest warrant. She had to be euthanized because of her condition.
Riley and the other dog, a 7-year-old Shepherd Mastiff mix named Sasha, were also in bad shape. Riley was lean and had matted fur. His paws and fur were stained with urine and feces. He had fleas, cataracts in both eyes and an ear canal filled with fur. Sasha appeared slightly overweight, with live fleas visible on her fur. Her skin was inflamed, and she had an infection in both of her ears.
Police found that Angel had last been seen by a veterinarian in 2010. It did not appear as though Sasha and Riley had ever been to a vet, police said. Both Sasha and Riley were put on treatment plans, but Riley had to be euthanized. Sasha was put up for adoption.
In arguing against the first-time offender program on Friday, state prosecutor Ronald Dearstyne said giving Jason Savage a program would send the wrong message to society, making it appear as though anyone can treat animals poorly and walk away with no criminal record.
“My dogs are part of my family,” Dearstyne said. “They’re part of the family, not just pets.”
Kelly and Jason Savage face charges of cruelty to animals, failure to comply dog ownership requirements and no rabies vaccination. They are both due back in court on Sept. 19.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.