Borough woman facing animal cruelty charges

WATERBURY — A Naugatuck woman was charged with animal cruelty last Wednesday after an animal control officer said she found the woman had neglected her dog, which had severely infected ulcers in its mouth and was so emaciated that its skull was visible through its skin.

One animal control officer said she had never seen a dog in worse condition during her years working with animals, according to court documents. China, a pit bull mix, was euthanized after a veterinarian determined she was near death.

Valerie Machnics, 41, of 100 Hunters Mountain Road, Naugatuck, was arraigned in Waterbury Superior Court, where a judge set her bond at $10,000.

A Naugatuck animal control officer was called to Machnics’ neighborhood in January on a report that one of Machnics’ dogs, a black Newfoundland named Batman, was roaming around.

Animal control officers returned to Machnics’ home a few days later to see if the dog was tied up. They found the dog was secured, but didn’t have shelter.

Animal control officer Kristy Sturges contacted Bikers Against Animal Cruelty, a non-profit group of motorcyclists that raises funds to help with veterinary bills, among other volunteer work for animals.

The group brought a dog house to Machnics’ property days later. As members unloaded the shelter, animal control officer Adrienne Croce knocked on the door of Machnics’ house and discovered three dogs inside the home, including a white pit bull named China that appeared sickly and emaciated, court documents state.

Croce told Machnics to immediately get medical treatment for her dog, but the unemployed mother of two said she didn’t have the funds, according to court documents.

About a week later, Machnics called Croce saying China was dying. Croce arrived at Machnics’ home, finding her carrying the dog down the driveway in her arms.

Croce and another animal control officer rushed China to an emergency clinic, where a veterinarian said China was in shock and was barely able to stand. Her ribs, skull, pelvis and backbone were visible.

The vet found several deep, severely infected ulcers on the inside of China’s mouth, thick yellow discharge coming from her eyes and found she was unable to breathe through her nostrils because they had crusted over with discharge.

The vet told officers China was near death. She added that China had endured undue suffering and pain, according to court documents.

Local animal control officers contacted state animal control officer Barbara Godejohn, who went to Machnics’ property a week later to inspect her other animals. Court documents indicate Godejohn had been to Machnics’ property in the past in response to complaints about her horse.

Godejohn reported that Machnics’ other dogs appeared to be healthy and her horse appeared thin, but not emaciated.

It’s unclear whether Machnics’ animals remained at the property.

Alia Malik contributed to this report.