BY ANDREAS YILMA
BEACON FALLS — A dog kennel operator is facing an animal cruelty charge after a dog died in his facility.
A Naugatuck resident left her 18-month-old bulldog, Artemis, with Beacon Paws, a dog kennel business at 17 Old Turnpike Road, for about a week in early January while she went out of town. On Jan. 6, Beacon Paws operator George Meder told state Animal Control Officer Charles DellaRocco the dog suffered some injuries on Jan. 4 while playing with seven or eight dogs, according to an arrest warrant and Meder.
Meder told DellaRocco that he noticed Artemis to be lethargic and stated in a spontaneous utterance, “…I probably should have taken Arty to the vet,” according to the arrest warrant. Meder said he noticed Artemis was dead on Jan. 6.
On Jan. 9, Artemis was taken to Dr. Samantha McNamara of Salmon Brook Veterinarian Hospital in Granby. McNamara’s post-mortem examination revealed several puncture wounds to the dog’s head and neck area, with significant swelling and secondary infection present.
“The nature of the wounds would have caused severe respiratory distress that would be obvious in nature. Dr. McNamara again stated that the nature of the injuries would have caused significant bleeding (particularly from the ear wounds) which would have been evident to any lay person, medically trained or not medically trained,” the arrest warrant states.
McNamara further stated that her professional opinion was that there was a failure to render care or basic first aid, and negligence in not seeking veterinary care immediately following the incident, according to the arrest warrant.
Connecticut State Police charged Meder with cruelty to animals on Jan. 19. He was released on a $15,000 bond and is scheduled to appear at Derby Superior Court on Feb. 27.
Meder, who has operated the kennel for 11 years, said in an interview he never intended for it to come out this way and applied some hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and Neosporin to treat the wounds.
“I was doing what I thought was right at the time,” Meder said. “If I had thought that there was going to be a big issue or there was going to be any issue at all, I would’ve done it differently. I just didn’t see that when this thing started, or after. Anybody who knows me from this business or anything else would know that it’s not me to intentionally ever put a dog in danger or any animal. I wouldn’t do it.”
Meder said he doesn’t know what the cause of death was or if those injuries were in any way related to the dog’s untimely death. The dog wasn’t bleeding, nor did the injuries have any blood, he added.
“If it’s determined I didn’t handle it right, that I should’ve done something different but I didn’t see some of the things I should’ve seen and dealt with them in a better way, I’m going to accept that,” Meder said. “I’m not going to fight it. I don’t do that. You take responsibility for what happens. There’s no running from this. There’s no hiding.”
The business has been licensed with the state Department of Agriculture since 2012.
Past complaints of the business were obtained from the state Department of Agriculture, which regulates kennels and pet shops.
One of those complaints included a 3-year-old Rottweiler named Taco that initially arrived at the business at about noon on Aug. 8, 2022, for boarding.
The dogs were checked at around 7 at night. Meder arrived the next morning and Taco appeared to be fine; his water bowl was three-quarters full. About an hour later, one of the workers noticed the dog was a little wobbly and soon afterward Meder and a worker heard a sound like a “dull chain saw going through wood” coming from Taco. The dog was “sitting like a sphinx and breathing in a big way,” according to the state Department of Agriculture complaint.
Meder transported Taco to Newtown Veterinary Specialists where the dog later died. That case has since been closed, and as of Sept. 16, 2022, state Animal Control Officer Kelli Baker said she was unable to determine the cause of Taco’s death without a necropsy.
“It appears that the staff of Beacon Paws took all appropriate actions when Taco fell ill and I am unable to determine if Beacon Paws is responsible for Taco’s death.” Baker said in the complaint.
Gina Meder, George Meder’s wife, owns the business while George Meder oversees the day-to-day operations. She posted on Facebook that what happened was tragic and that her husband would never harm a dog but rather has been a kind, caring person to every animal he has been involved with.
“My husband is very broken up for what had happened. He has cared for hundreds and hundreds of dogs and cats. I can’t tell you how many animals were just dumped at our kennel and he cared for each and every one of them,” Gina Meder said. “He has transported many sick dogs to the vet, when dogs wouldn’t eat because they were upset or depressed.”
George Meder said regardless of the outcome of this case, his wife should not be linked to it since she isn’t involved with daily operations.
“At the end of the day, I’m responsible for what I did or didn’t do right and there’s no getting away from that,” George Meder said. “Yes, I’m a nice guy, I have a big heart, I always try to help people. I would never to want something like this to happen but because it did, I’ve got to deal with it.”