Fred Acker, the owner of the SPCA of Connecticut animal shelter based in Monroe, was sentenced to one year in jail on Tuesday at Milford Superior Court.
He was convicted of 11 counts of animal cruelty in Milford Superior Court on July 26.
Acker’s sentencing was originally scheduled for Sept. 6, but judge Denise Markle said she needed more time before making her final ruling.
Prior to the judge delivering her sentence Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Kalthoff said that Acker’s desire to continue working with animals is outrageous considering his numerous animal cruelty convictions.
“He continues to push this hero narrative. Mr. Acker is far from the only option available here [to care for the animals]; in fact, the evidence shows he is a bad option,” Kalthoff said.
Acker’s attorney, Igor Kuperman, responded by saying that Acker recognizes that he “made poor choices.” Kuperman also said that Acker is sorry for his bad decisions but that he should still be able to interact with animals.
Judge Markle said Acker relinquished his right to work with animals after being convicted of multiple counts of animal cruelty and that as part of his three-year probation, Acker is not permitted to care for, control or adopt animals.
“You are not to be affiliated, you are not to operate, you are not to volunteer in any manner with any nonprofit organization which promotes the sheltering, care, transportation or placement of animals,” Judge Markle said.
The judge also said Acker has to pay $1,800 to Who’s Your Doggie and $13,481 to the town of Bethlehem.
This isn’t the first time Acker has been convicted of animal cruelty. He was also convicted of 15 counts of animal cruelty in Litchfield Superior Court in 2015 and he was sentenced to six months in prison. However, the charges were suspended and Acker was placed on a two-year probation.
Acker had been on notice with local animal control since 2012 when Monroe Animal Control officers noted that he had significantly more dogs than he was zoned for in his shelter.
House Republican Leader, State Rep. Themis Klarides, held a press conference in Monroe in August to announce her plans to tighten animal shelter legislation after visiting Acker’s shelter and learning about his animal cruelty convictions.
“We need to change our laws and our regulations to make sure that not only they are strict enough, but to make sure our judicial system is enforcing them,” she said during the press conference. “We don’t want to stop anybody who is a good and caring person from taking care of animals. We want to make sure people who are clearly taking advantage of the system are not allowed to.”
During the press conference Klarides said she spoke with Acker in August and that he claimed to be a victim of circumstance.
“When there’s this much evidence, when there’s this many charges and convictions in numerous jurisdictions … all I have to say is shame on you,” she said. “Don’t claim to love animals so much when you skirt the law time after time.