Judge: Head of Fairfield animal rescue cannot have pets while out on bond

Glorianne Lagnese made her first appearance in Bridgeport Superior Court, where the judge made "no pets" a condition of Lagnese's bond release.

Marissa Alter

May 19, 2023, 9:19 PM

Updated 367 days ago


The head of a Fairfield-based animal rescue, who's now charged with 48 counts of animal cruelty, has been ordered not to have any pets.
On Friday, Glorianne Lagnese made her first appearance in Bridgeport Superior Court, where the judge made "no pets" a condition of Lagnese's bond release. It came at the request of the prosecutor at what was a quick arraignment. Lagnese said she still needs to hire an attorney, so the case was continued without her entering a plea. The prosecution also asked for an animal advocate to be appointed to the case, which the judge granted.
Lagnese runs Super Paws Rescue out of her home on Steep Hill Road in Fairfield. The nonprofit's website says its goal is to safely re-home animals, especially pets who are in high kill shelters or at-risk.
But according to court documents, Lagnese is accused of subjecting 48 dogs and cats to "prolonged neglect by means of starvation, dehydration, and deprivation to basic rights of sanitation."
On April 28, animal control officers seized nearly 50 animals from her home due to what they deemed were "uninhabitable" conditions. Fairfield police said the investigation into Lagnese began earlier in the month after a resident found a dog without tags roaming and called animal control to report it had matted fur and smelled strongly of urine. Police said animal control traced the dog to Lagnese and requested a welfare check at the house before releasing the dog back. That visit led to a search warrant for the home with the investigation culminating in Lagnese's arrest on May 12.
Her arrest warrant said officers found the home "extremely cluttered with various items and trash making it difficult to navigate" and noted "the strong scent of urine/ammonia" and "piles of animal feces" in multiple rooms.
"The animal rescue and basement level of the home were covered in feces and urine, and the ammonia smell made it very difficult to breathe. All the animals' cages had fecal matter and urine inside, forcing the animals to walk and lay in it. The food and water bowls were either empty or contained what appeared to be old food and were also covered in fecal matter," according to the warrant.
The animals were all removed except for what the warrant said were feral cats in the walls and ceiling. Police most of the animals went to the Fairfield Animal Shelter except for three dogs that needed treatment at Highway Animal Hospital. The vet there submitted a lengthy report on the condition of all the dogs and cats.
"The report indicated the animals showed prolonged exposure to urine and feces with staining and matted coats. Many had overgrown nails preventing them from walking properly. One dog was having syncope episodes from untreated cardiac disease, and another had significant scarring throughout its body from skin lesions," according to the warrant. "The animals were provided with 24 hours of food and water at the animal shelter and were still showing signs of dehydration and starvation. Many had untreated medical conditions and preventable ailments," the warrant said.
The vet also told animal control that she'd spoken to Lagnese in the past about "her animals being dirty and at times smelling of urine and cigarette smoke," according to the warrant. It stated the vet said Lagnese seemed to be bringing in more animals lately and she'd warned Lagnese she was becoming overwhelmed with trying to care for too many animals.
Lagnese's warrant noted that animal control had received prior complaints about the welfare of dogs at her rescue, as well.
Lagnese had no comment after court, but News 12 spoke with a couple close friends who were there to support her. They were adamant Lagnese never abused any animal. They said she simply "bit off more than she could chew" with the rescue. They told News 12 people were constantly dropping or sick or senior animals, and Lagnese never told them "no," so she just got overwhelmed.
Lagnese is due back in court July 6.

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