Thursday, September 9, 1993

Connecticut: Elizabeth Schultz, the woman who hoarded 56 dogs in feces-soiled cages, received two years' probation and will be allowed to keep two dogs

CONNECTICUT -- Elizabeth M. Schultz, the woman, WHO WAS ALREADY A CONVICTED ANIMAL ABUSER, who harbored 56 dogs in feces-soiled cages, received two years' probation and will be allowed to keep two dogs, under a plea agreement reached Tuesday in Enfield Superior Court.

Schultz, 54, was charged with 60 counts of cruelty to animals after her dogs were found in houses in Enfield and Windsor Locks. Under the plea, she did not admit guilt but conceded there was enough evidence for convictions in two of the charges.

In exchange, Assistant State's Attorney John Malone dropped all of the remaining counts and about 50 other counts related to licensing and vaccinations before Judge Allen W. Smith issued the sentence.

"She has been a sick woman," Smith said.

Smith had to defend his sentence against criticism from Richard Johnston, president of the Connecticut Humane Society, who said Schultz should be barred from owning dogs at least until she successfully completes her probation.

"Everything to this date points to the fact that she cannot care for any animals," Johnston said. "I don't think there was due recognition of the rights of the animals involved."

Smith said Schultz's psychiatrist assured the court that Schultz can handle two dogs. The dogs will be neutered.

"I think emotionally it will probably help her," Smith said.

Under the agreement, Schultz's 88-year-old mother, Mary Schultz, will once again live with her. Mary Schultz was placed in a nursing home after police found her in the Enfield house.

Police on July 28 seized 56 dogs from houses in Enfield and Windsor Locks owned by Elizabeth Schultz. The dogs were stacked in soiled cages that had not been cleaned for months, said police, who also found nine dead dogs in freezers or refrigerators at the houses.

The stench (ammonia) in Schultz's Lox Lane home in Enfield was so bad that fierefighters had to wear air masks before entering to open windows.

Smith sentenced Schultz to one year in prison, suspended, with two years' probation. She had faced up to one year in jail on each cruelty count.

Under the conditions of probation, Schultz will be required to continue counseling for depression, refrain from breeding her dogs, and donate $100 to the Windsor Locks dog pound and $150 to the Enfield dog pound.

Schultz has called the dogs her "family" and said conditions in the cages deteriorated only when she was having trouble selling the dogs. She said she froze the carcasses only to preserve them while she saved money for coffins.

Schultz's attorney, Michael J. Devlin of Somers, said his client was never cruel to the dogs.

"There was never any indication that they were mistreated," he said. "It was just a case of keeping up with the housekeeping end of it. She had been treated for depression and everything just got to be too much.

"She doesn't deny that the conditions were not good," he said. "She was trying to do her best. Obviously her best wasn't enough to be able to keep up with the dogs."

No, she wasn't 'trying her best'. She is a hoarder. This is a mental condition. She needs to be forced to continue mental health counseling and she needs probation for 20 years to ensure she doesn't do this again. 

(Hartford Courant - September 8, 1993)