Eventually he began to show signs of stress and was transferred to a smaller facility. Soon after he was adopted. The shelter had no way of knowing that his adopter had previously been in a relationship with the prior owner. Nor did they know the adopter had a long history of violent behavior and had purposely set out to adopt Desmond as a way to punish his former girlfriend.
A year later Desmond’s lifeless body was discovered in a plastic bag at the end of a dead end street. A necropsy showed he had been kicked, beaten and starved. His owner confessed and also admitted to keeping him locked in a bathroom and finally hanging him in a fit of “uncontrollable rage” for urinating in the house.
The owner, twenty-two year old Alex Wullaert, was charged with felony animal cruelty in January, 2012. He pleaded not guilty and was granted Accelerated Rehabilitation. All charges were expunged from his record in April, 2015.
The bill, drafted by State Representative Diana Urban, has passed the Judiciary Committee and is currently before the legislature. Urban felt compelled to act when she learned that the conviction rate in Connecticut for animal cruelty cases was only eighteen percent.
People are finally taking notice of the correlation between those who abuse animals and those who abuse humans. Even the FBI has begun tracking animal cruelty cases across the country. While progress is being made, there is still much work to do.
For starters, it is imperative for all Connecticut residents to call or write their legislators and let them know they support Desmond’s Law. The bill will come before the Legislature on May 4th. It is up to us to make sure it is acted on.
Not only would Desmond’s Law be a benefit to animals in Connecticut, but it could serve as a blueprint for other states to enact similar laws. Connecticut can be a leader in the fight against animal cruelty. We must speak out and be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Find your local legislators here and make some noise. Our animals are depending on us.