SOUTHINGTON - A local mother and son, charged in an animal cruelty case, have been granted a first-time offender program that will allow them to keep a clean record.
Linda Burleigh, 45, and her son, Kyle Burleigh, 21, of Plantsville, appeared Friday, in Bristol Superior Court, where Judge John Cronan said he has seen some “horrendous” cases involving animal abuse or neglect, adding that this particular matter was not one of those and involved extenuating circumstances.
According to court officials, Linda Burleigh suffers from a serious health condition that prohibited her from taking care of her dog, named Knight. She asked her son, Kyle, to take the dog somewhere where he could be euthanized, but instead was presented a veterinarian bill that was too expensive for her to afford, officials continued. The animal had difficulty walking, fur loss, scaly skin, an infection and other health issues.
“There were extenuating circumstances,” Cronan said before granting the program.
According to police, Kyle Burleigh initially lied to police, saying he had found the dog, when he brought it to the Southington Animal Control facility. Investigators later found that it belonged to his mother. State prosecutors have previously said Linda Burleigh has taken responsibility for the poor condition of the dog, saying her son had nothing to do with it.
Linda and Kyle Burleigh each face charges of animal cruelty, failure to vaccinate a dog and failure to license a dog. Kyle Burleigh faces an additional count of second-degree false statement.
They were enrolled on Friday in the Accelerated Rehabilitation program for one year. During that time, they have been ordered not to possess any animals and avoid further arrests. Success in the program would result in the charges being dropped on Dec. 3, 2019.
After police were brought the dog, it was taken to a veterinarian. The animal had a hard time walking, long nails to the point where it had bled, large skin tags on its underside, fur loss, scaly skin, chronically infected ears, masses hanging from the abdomen, some atrophy in the hind legs, and it smelled of a foul odor, police said.
At the vet, police said, it was discovered that the animal was owned by Linda Burleigh and was adopted in August 2010. The last record the vet had of treating Knight was in September 2010.
Police said the animal received medical attention and its condition improved.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.