Arrest warrant details newest animal cruelty case against former Fairfield official

Before Ray Neuberger allegedly doused his then-girlfriend’s cat in bleach and beat it to death last summer, Neuberger seriously injured another one of the woman’s cats, according to his newest arrest warrant.

Marissa Alter

Feb 11, 2023, 12:57 AM

Updated 491 days ago


Before Ray Neuberger allegedly doused his then-girlfriend’s cat in bleach and beat it to death last summer, Neuberger seriously injured another one of the woman’s cats, according to his newest arrest warrant.
Neuberger, 39, a former member of Fairfield’s Representative Town Meeting, was charged with animal cruelty on Monday. It’s the second time in four months police have arrested him on that charge and the third time since 2018.
Police said their latest investigation began after a call from the former roommate of Neuberger’s ex-girlfriend. She saw his arrest in October and reached out over concerns Neuberger abused a different cat previously owed by the woman.
On Feb. 12, 2022, Neuberger’s girlfriend returned home from his place with her cat, Pearl, and told her roommate, “’something happened’ to Pearl while the cat was alone with Neuberger,” according to the warrant. The roommate told police Pearl had extensive injuries to all her legs, her tail and her abdomen, and said she was “shocked” by the cat’s condition. She said Neuberger’s girlfriend ended up signing over ownership of Pearl to the animal hospital because the cat’s medical care was too high.
The warrant states when Neuberger’s girlfriend moved in with him in July 2022, she asked her roommate to take her other cat, Gem, but the woman couldn’t have cats in her new home. The former roommate told police she later “observed the cat, Gem, to behave as if she were afraid of Neuberger by hiding or running away when Neuberger was near the cat,” according to the warrant. She said when she learned Neuberger was charged with Gem’s death, it made her strongly suspect he was responsibly for deliberately hurting Pearl, as well.
Police later interviewed Neuberger’s ex-girlfriend who confirmed Pearl was alone with Neuberger on the day the cat was seriously injured. “Neuberger told her the cat fell in the toilet and then went directly into the litterbox. She thought his story did make sense,” the warrant states. She was “clearly distraught over the injuries to Pearl and the death of Gem.”
Police also interviewed Dr. Erin Fleming, the veterinarian who treated Pearl at Highway Animal Hospital. She confirmed Pearl was signed over to the hospital for extensive medical care. “Treatment included corrective surgeries to the cat’s abdomen because the burns were ‘down to the muscle.’ The cat’s tail was also amputated,” according to the warrant.
News 12 spoke with Fleming about Pearl’s condition when she first came in.
“I can only imagine what that poor cat went through," she said, adding Pearl had serious lesions. “I've never seen anything like that without there being some sort of severe chemical or heat. What we were told was that it was bleach water. Bleach water wouldn't do that. It would have to be really high concentrated bleach for that to be the case, and those lesions were just so extensive that there's no way that would've happened with something quickly happening.”
Fleming said Pearl spent four months at the hospital healing and made a full recovery.
“We just loved her, and we wanted to keep her here,” Fleming explained, adding that Pearl now has loving home and a family that spoils her rotten. “She's great. She does parkour off the walls and plays and does all sorts of fun stuff so she's living a really good life right now.”
Fleming told News 12 that staff were deeply affected by Pearl’s case. Fairfield police were too.
“The victim being that of an innocent animal is heart wrenching. It's hard to see that somebody can take their frustration and anger out on an innocent animal. That has no defense,” said Lt. Michael Paris.
Paris said police were unable to speak with Neuberger about the newest allegations before they arrested him. He turned himself in once notified there was a new warrant. Neuberger was released on $10,000 bond and is set to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on Feb. 28. His attorney John Gulash told News 12, “It would be inappropriate to comment on the case at this time.”
Neuberger was also arrested in 2018, accused of abusing his fiancé’s two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. One suffered burns from boiling water and the other had broken ribs. Neuberger went to jail for 43 days and had to make a $25,000 donation to the Bridgeport Animal Shelter while the case was pending. In exchange, Neuberger received accelerated rehabilitation, a pre-trial probation program that wiped the charges from his record.

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