Waterbury woman charged with animal cruelty

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Anita Marie Lockhart-Howard of Waterbury faces animal cruelty charges after people found her dog, Rudy, starving on the streets of Woodbury. They called Animal Control. Officer Judy Omstead responded and was shocked.

“I was very shocked at his health,” said Omstead. “He was skin and bones, totally emaciated. There was no medical reason for him being as skinny as he was.”

Omstead called police and got Rudy to a doctor right away.

“They tested him, they did x-rays, blood work, everything and discovered that he — it was just pure starvation,” said Omstead.

Lockhart-Howard hasn’t had Rudy for a long time. She adopted him from the Connecticut Humane Society in November.

“We just want everyone to know that it’s unacceptable to have a dog in that condition,” said Omstead. “There’s no reason for that.”

News 8 tried to contact Lockhart-Howard, but no one answered the door at her house.

The Connecticut Humane Society does not have strict rules or requirements when it comes to placing animals with pet owners. They do meet with people looking to adopt pets to determine if they would be a good fit for the animal and to see if they would be able to provide them with a safe, loving home.

“What their lifestyle is like, we do counsel with them so we ask them some general questions and we really get one-on-one with them,” said Theresa Geary, Director of Operations with the Connecticut Humane Society. “We’re really looking to get to know these folks as best we can. We don’t have any hard and fast rules.”

Geary says last year, nearly 5,000 animals were adopted at the Connecticut Humane Society’s 3 locations and most of the adoptions are successful ones. But, a situation like what happened to Rudy could cause them to re-examine things — like, perhaps giving their decision-making process more scrutiny.

“It’s sad to us,” Geary said. “We’re sorry that the animal went through that. What we’re grateful for is our animal control officers who came through and rescued the dog. Nobody at the Connecticut Humane Society wants an animal to be put in an uncomfortable or awful situation.”

Rudy is now with another family. We’re told he’s in much better health.