Woman arrested in death of 5 dogs in Fairfield
FAIRFIELD — The former president of a rehabilitation nonprofit for pit bull dogs turned herself in to Fairfield police on Tuesday and was charged with five counts of animal cruelty.
Heidi E. Lueders, 31, who formerly resided on Prince Street in Fairfield and now resides in New Canaan, was charged with five counts of cruelty to animals and criminal damage to a landlord’s property by a tenant.
Her arrest stems from the discovery of five canine remains in crates inside her home on Nov. 14, 2018, according to police.
Leading up to the discovery of the dog remains, Lueders was the president of a rehabilitation nonprofit for pit bull dogs — Bully Breed Rescued, based in New Canaan.
The remains were removed after police served a search warrant at Lueders home.
“The remains, for the most part, were just bones,” Capt. Robert Kalamaras said shortly after the discovery. “The conditions inside the home were pretty deplorable with dog feces throughout the entire house. The smell inside the place was pretty bad because of that and the state of decomposition of the animals’ bodies.”
“After recognizing the address, we all immediately began cooperating with local police and detectives,” said Vice President Chris Antolini on Bully Breed Rescue’s main webpage. “It is with great sadness that we confirm all five dogs on Prince Street were dogs from Bully Breed Rescue, Inc., under the care of President Heidi Lueders.”
The domain for the Bully Breed Rescue website was no longer active as of Wednesday.
According to Antolini’s statement made last fall, Lueders told the group she sent four of the dogs to a sanctuary and another dog to a foster home that she was supposedly monitoring. The statement said she had the dogs for seven months.
Fairfield police obtain a warrant for Lueders’ arrest on Nov. 29 and detectives began coordinating the terms of her surrender.
Lueders was released after posting a $50,000 court set bond. She is scheduled to appear in Bridgeport Superior court on Jan. 29.