Beatrice Nielsen, also known professionally as Beatrice DeGruttola, 50, of Auburn, Massachusetts, has been charged with 29 counts of animal cruelty. Authorities were tipped off by someone who reported the smell of decaying flesh coming from her two-bedroom home in Webster, Massachusetts, and that a dead animal also might be inside.
Authorities found 21 dogs, five cats, and four birds living in a “deplorable” state, including living in feces-filled and urine-soaked conditions, according to NBC Connecticut. Authorities removed the animals from the residence. One of the dogs removed was dead. Some were emaciated and malnourished and lived in kennels that were too small for their well-being. The local police department received a call from the Board of Health regarding health and sanitation issues regarding her home. And she may face additional charges regarding potential code violations from the town of Webster.
Nielsen has been rescuing and training dogs since 1998 and has worked as a dog trainer at My Dog’s Place in Mystic and Niantic since 2003, according to My Dog’s Place’s website. Nielsen believes that the charges are the result of a personal grudge against her. Describing herself as a “canine specialist” with 30 years of experience, she stated the following to reporters outside the courthouse, according to FOX Connecticut.
“I have helped thousands of dogs to find new homes and helped rehabilitate them. This is an absolute insult.”
Marge Lineweber, the owner of My Dog’s Place, indicated that she and others who know Nielsen are “confused” and “shocked” by the allegations against her, indicating that Nielsen worked to rehabilitate many dogs. Lineweber stated the following about Nielsen, “She has a huge client base and her clients loved her. She works with dogs nobody else in the area will work with, her clients and we all regard her as a great trainer and a good person.” Nielsen has been placed on a leave of absence as an employee pending the outcome of the investigation.
Nielsen was held on $2,500 bail, then released after posting bail. On September 17, she will be due back in court for a pre-trial hearing.
If the charges are true, what penalties do you think Nielsen should face? Do you think that she should be held to a higher standard than others as a pet professional? Please leave your comments below.
Another pet professional — a pet sitter — was recently caught on videotape slapping and slamming to the ground an unknown dog. Eleven dogs were seized from the sitter, according to an article in the Inquisitr.
[Photo Courtesy Webster Police, Booking Photo, Video Courtesy YouTube]