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Dept. of Agriculture Sting Nets GA Woman for Illegal Pet Adoption Operation

Multiple charges include cruelty to animals, failing to have official interstate animal health certificates, failure to register as an animal importer, failure to notify the DOA of adoption event, operating a pet shop without a license.

File photo of two dogs rescued from Georgia and Tennessee respectively.
File photo of two dogs rescued from Georgia and Tennessee respectively.

Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky announced today that the Connecticut
Department of Agriculture arrested 64-year-old Donna Lee Carswell of Grovetown, GA, in Madison on Saturday, Jan. 25 for animal cruelty and related charges. 

After receiving complaints from consumers and the Rhode Island state veterinarian that Carswell was placing sick animals into adoptions with Connecticut and Rhode Island residents through her Nick of Time rescue business, the Department of Agriculture’s animal control unit conducted a sting operation with the assistance of Madison police and animal control officers. 

Undercover officers met with Carswell in a commuter parking lot under the auspices of purchasing a dog. The Department of Agriculture seized 10 cats and two dogs being transported in dirty en-closures covered with feces and urine. The cats exhibited symptoms of respiratory distress. All of the animals were taken immediately to an area veterinarian for examination. Two cats had to be euthanized because of illness. 

“The Department of Agriculture has no tolerance for cruelty to animals or importation of sick animals into Connecticut,” Reviczky said in a release. “We take these issues very seriously and will continue to pursue prosecution of offenders under state law. It is our goal to eradicate the needless suffering of innocent pets, as well as the severe emotional and financial hardship their new families inevitably face after unknowingly adopting seriously ill animals.” 

The charges against Carswell include 12 counts of cruelty to animals, 12 counts of failing to have official interstate animal health certificates, failure to register as an animal importer, failure to notify the Department of Agriculture of an animal adoption event, operating a pet shop without a license, and failure to have animals examined by a veterinarian prior to adoption. 

She was released on a promise to appear and is scheduled to be in New Haven Superior Court on Feb. 4.

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