WOODBURY – A Ridgefield woman was charged with animal cruelty on Monday after authorities said she abandoned her dog in a parking lot outside a local veterinarian’s office.
Police said on Oct. 25, Remigia Miller, 49, of Hauley Place in Ridgefield, dropped off the bichon-schnauzer mix outside the Davis Companion Animal Hospital at 127 Main Street North, then fled the scene without informing anyone.
Woodbury Animal Control Officer Judy Umstead arrived at the parking lot and found the loose dog near a wooded area, secured him, then brought him back to the pound where he stayed while she investigated.
“At first, I figured he had just escaped from someone’s house and that we’d be getting a call, but when that didn’t happen, I knew something was up,” said Umstead, who later discovered her new four-legged friend’s name was “Grady.”
Using a scanner, the dog warden detected a microchip inside the dog, which indicated he was first adopted from an animal rescue shelter in Florida in 2008. Umstead said the shelter’s records showed “Grady” had been originally adopted by a man who later died.
“And that’s where the investigation stalled…until we were able to get the name of a nephew of the person who died, who gave us the name of the woman who most recently owned the dog,” Umstead said.
In November, Umstead and a Ridgefield Police officer went to Miller’s home.
“She admitted it. She said she just didn’t like the dog,” Umstead said. “There’s no excuse for abandoning a dog and the state statutes under animal cruelty include abandonment.”
It took several weeks for the arrest warrant to be approved, but when it was, Miller was informed and surrendered to state police without incident.
She was released on a $500 bond and is scheduled to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on March 11.
In the meantime, “Grady” has found a new home with a Woodbury family, who, Umstead said, love him dearly.
“The story had a happy ending, but now this woman needs to answer for herself,” Umstead said.
Umstead said dog owners looking to rid themselves of their pets can always bring their pet to their local animal control office, no questions asked.
A message left on a phone number associated with Miller was not returned on Tuesday evening.