CONNECTICUT -- A woman whose twin sister was accused last month of abusing four dogs at her Westover home now faces similar charges.
Debra Tandet, 55, was taken into custody when she appeared this week in state Superior Court in Stamford for causing a disturbance at her sister’s arraignment in December. She was charged with four counts of accessory to animal cruelty and released after posting a $15,000 bond.
Susan Tandet, 55, was charged last month with four counts of animal cruelty. The sisters have been ordered not to own or live with any animals.
“This is pretty much the same case. Both lived in the same house and both were responsible for the care of the four dogs,” Lt. Nick Montagnese, who wrote the arrest warrants for the twins, said of the charges against Debra Tandet.
Police said the charges stem from a four-month investigation into a neighbor’s complaint filed in August about two adult dogs and two puppies barking overnight on Susan Tandet’s property.
Police said they found two adult English Sheepdogs tied to a tree and two puppies in an “extremely dirty” outdoor pen.
The dogs were taken to the animal hospital, where one of the puppies was diagnosed with pneumonia and dehydration. The puppy, Skeeter, has since died due to Tandet’s poor care, according to the arrest warrant.
A judge has appointed a guardian for the three dogs, Stanley, Chloe and Toro, to represent their interests during the court process. The guardian, Kristan Exner, is a 9/11 survivor, an immigration attorney and founder of a Danbury group called Tails of Courage, which trains therapy dogs for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Debra Tandet’s attorney, Stephan Seeger, said he wants to speak to Exner about the status of the dogs.
“I look forward to talking to the dogs’ lawyer about insuring my client’s right to keep her dogs,” he said.
“We have evidence to support that my client has always taken good care of her dogs and we plan to fight for her rights to keep her own dogs in the home.
Lindy Urso, who is Susan Tandet’s attorney, said the case has taken on a life of its own. Urso’s client returned to court last week when a judge increased her bond because she did not properly advise her probation officer about where she was living.
“Susan does not abuse animals. To the contrary, she loves her dogs very much,” Urso said. “Her dogs are her life and being separated from them over the hysteria that surrounds this misdemeanor case has been extremely traumatic for her.”
Urso said her client only had the puppy that died for five weeks and said the animal was born sick.
“Animal control had the puppy for three months and it died under their care,” Urso said. “Only after the puppy died on their watch did they issue the warrant.”
Susan Campbell, who is prosecuting the case, declined to comment.
(The Advocate - Jan 17, 2017)