'They were decomposed almost totally:' Animal control officers and detective take stand in day 2 of accused dog killer’s trial
Day two in the Heidi Lueders trial began with testimony about the condition of the five dogs found dead inside a home in Fairfield on Nov. 14, 2018.
“All the dogs were deceased, and they were decomposed. And they weren’t just mildly decomposed. They were decomposed almost totally so they’d been there in that situation for a while,” said Fairfield Animal Control Officer Paul Miller on the stand.
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Miller recounted the day he was called to 37 Prince St. after the landlord discovered the remains inside the home she’d rented to Heidi Lueders. At the time, Lueders was the president of Bully Breed Rescue, which no longer exists.
She’s now on trial before Judge Peter McShane, charged with five counts of malicious wounding or killing of an animal, which is a felony, and criminal damage to property.
On Tuesday Miller testified the dogs were reduced to just bones and “there was no flesh or muscle tissue.”
“Four of the dogs were in wire cages. A fifth dog was not in a wire cage but behind a closed door,” Miller said. “The wire cages were shut, and they were latched.”
Fairfield Detective Kevin McKeon, one of the investigators who executed the search warrant, took the stand later in the afternoon. McKeon took all the pictures at the scene and summarized them on the stand. “That’s a close-up of a dog crate with its skeleton in it,” McKeon explained. Other pictures showed the home full of garbage, dog feces, and drug paraphernalia.
McKeon said the remains were brought to the Animal Pathology Department at UConn. He testified that a report from there said the dogs had been dead between two and ten months, and they died of dehydration and starvation.
Lueders’ attorney, Rob Serafinowicz, took issue with McKeon saying how the dogs died. On cross-examination, Serafinowicz handed him a copy of the report and asked him to read it. After doing so, McKeon testified the report said it was possible that lack of food or water led to the dogs’ deaths.
Testimony continues Wednesday afternoon with three more witnesses for the state. Before court adjourned Tuesday, McShane admonished Lueders for being late to court the past two days. Lueders opted for a trial by judge rather than jury.