Fairfield woman accused of starving dogs can’t support insanity claim
BRIDGEPORT — A Fairfield woman accused of starving to death five dogs she had rescued can’t find an expert to support her claim of insanity.
In a courtroom crowded with animal rights supporters, Heidi Lueders’ lawyer, Rob Serafinowicz, told Superior Court Judge Frank Iannotti that so far, no medical expert has agreed to weigh in on the case.
Serafinowicz said later he is not giving up on his claim that his client suffers from a mental disease or defect. But Iannotti warned that unless an expert is found, he is going to proceed with putting Lueders on trial without the insanity defense.
The judge continued the case to Sept. 9.
Lueders, escorted into the courtroom through a side door by judicial marshals to avoid the throng of animal rights supporters, stood beside her lawyer without making any comments. She was escorted out the back door of the Golden Hill Street courthouse after the brief hearing.
The 31-year-old Lueders, the former president of Bully Breed Rescue, is charged with five counts of animal cruelty.
Police said when officers went to Lueders’ former Prince Street home in Fairfield they were nearly overwhelmed by an odor. They said the windows in the two-story house were ajar and there were fans and several air fresheners placed about the house.
Once inside the house, police said, they found the floor covered in garbage and animal feces. The decomposed bodies of five dogs lay in locked cages. Police said it appears the dogs had been in the cages for nearly a year.