Former animal rescue president briefly jailed for not complying with conditions in animal cruelty case before posting bond

A former animal rescue president accused of killing five dogs was in jail briefly Friday after a judge raised her bond for not complying with her release conditions.

News 12 Staff

Oct 1, 2021, 9:25 PM

Updated 1,026 days ago

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A former animal rescue president accused of killing five dogs was in jail briefly Friday after a judge raised her bond for not complying with her release conditions.
Heidi Lueders went before a judge for the first time since October 2019 when she rejected a plea deal that included jail time. Friday's hearing ended with her locked up for an hour.
"I just can't stress enough how malicious and pre-mediated and torturous this was to the animals involved," says Linda Pleva, the vice president and treasurer of Desmond's Army Animal Law Advocates.
The advocacy group has been following the case since November 2018 when Fairfield police discovered five dogs starved to death in Lueders' home. Each was locked in a cage and decomposed to mostly just bones.
Lueders was the president of Bully Breed Rescue at the time, which has since dissolved.
She was charged with felony animal cruelty and quickly made bond. Release conditions included drug treatment and testing and no alcohol.
During Friday's hearing, Judge Tracy Dayton said Lueders hasn't been compliant on multiple occasions including in August, when Lueders missed court and blamed COVID-19 symptoms.
Dayton told the court Lueders was supposed to submit proof of a COVID-19 test from that day and never did.
She assumes the real reason Lueders was a no-show was because of an incident in Norwalk where Lueders had to be "picked up off the sidewalk" and hospitalized for intoxication.
"There's only so many times this court can say, 'Don't do something,'" said Dayton. "Ms. Lueders does what she wishes to do. She doesn't go to treatment. she basically lies to the court and she's manipulating the system."
Lueders' attorney has previously said his client is a victim of the opioid epidemic. While arguing against the bond increase, he reiterated Lueders suffers from a major substance abuse problem.
Lueders appeared to gasp as Dayton raised her bond by $250,000. She was visibly breathing heavily as marshals cuffed her.
"It certainly brought a smile to my face. it may be just a small little smidgen of justice. Maybe just a small little smidgen. I hope that it's very uncomfortable for her," says Pleva.
Lueders posted bond and per the judge was outfitted with an electronic monitoring bracelet. She is essentially on house arrest for the duration of the case.
Lueders can only leave for medical appointments, counseling, court hearings and to take her mother to medical appointments.
She's due back in court on Oct. 14, which is when a trial date could be set.


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