Fred Acker Animal Cruelty Arrest

Finally they arrest Acker for animal cruelty.

Kudos to Animal Control Officer Judy Umstead of Bethlehem, Conn. for doing something that the State Animal Control Department should have done years ago.

That is, put Fred Acker and his SPCA "rescue organization" out of business. (Click here to read related article.)

As an animal control officer for 30 years, I became aware of Fred Acker during the early 90s in Stratford where he was attempting to set up shop. I personally ran him out of Stratford because I felt at that time that he was a scam artist who had no interest at all in animal welfare but was out to make a quick buck.

He states to Channel 8 news that he has placed 360 dogs in three days. Actually he SOLD 360 dogs in three days for a fee of $350 per dog. That amounts to, if my math is correct and you can check me on this, $105,000. Nice work if you can get it.

He obtains most of these dogs from "puppy mills" in the South for next to nothing and then has them transported to Connecticut. While he was in Monroe for many years (he claims 13 years) he was cited many times by local and state ACOs.

The problem was he was only charged with OPERATING AN ILLEGAL PET SHOP, issued an infraction summons which he could pay by mail, and added those fines to his cost of doing business.

He used the name SPCA which can be misunderstood for or mistaken for, ASPCA an animal rights and rescue group, headquartered in New York City, which was founded 145 years ago for the protection of draft horses that were being overworked and abused by their owners.

I'm sure many people who purchased dogs from Acker thought that he was affiliated with ASPCA and therefore a legitimate rescue group. I feel that along with animal cruelty, he should be charged with fraud, and after being found guilty, shoud be fined, given jail time, and ordered not to possess any more "pets" in the state of Connecticut.

Additionally, I feel he should be investigated for income tax evasion both state and federal. Anyone who feels the same as I do should contact the Animal Control Division in Hartford, and demonstrate and picket any and all of Acker's court appearances. Again, congratulations to Officer Umstead and although it's early in the year, I would like to nominate her for Animal Control Officer of the Year.

M.H. Griffin -- Chief Municipal Animal Control Officer (RET.) Stratford, Ct.

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Baffled Resident November 21, 2012 at 06:39 PM
I've seen many stories, and heard many accounts, from prospective adoptees about Acker's operation. This was precisely the reason why i dared to ask questions regarding an out of state group(Colbert) that ran an adoption at Stratford's Petco recently. Colbert also had a $350 fee. Unfortunately, the rescue crazies were not exactly forthcoming with answers. I'll stick with municipal shelters and the Humane Society.
Shirley B. Backus November 23, 2012 at 04:07 AM
I'm glad Fred Acker is finally getting his due. I had the displeasure to meet him several years ago when I was looking for a little dog. I responded to a web site and thought I was at the Monroe Animal Shelter. The Animal Shelter's phone message said that they were having an open adoption that morning, so I went to see if I could find my new little companion. Acker approached me in a menacing way and ordered me off the property. Any gentleman, any businessman, would have said something like, "I'm sorry I can't accomodate you today. Perhaps you could try the Animal Shelter down the street." But no, Acker accused me lying and acting crazy. I have never been spoken to in the manner before. There's something very suspicious about an animal rescue group that doesn't ever have open adoptions (Fred Acker sees people by appointment only). Fred Acker gives the SPCA a bad name. I wouldn't want him in charge of a lemonade stand.
Debbie November 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM
I am sorry you had a bad experience dealing with Acker when all you wanted was to take home a companion.I have heard stories like yours and even was told a story about someone that worked for him for a very short time.He was an inappropriate boss and the person left because of the abuse.I only hope more people come forward and also pay attention to the trial.Maybe we need to all go to his court dates??!!
Joseph Pedoto November 29, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Apologies for this off-topic post: I just wanted to let M.H. Griffin know that the Stratford Library has a book I think he would be interested in reading: it's called "Peppermint Twist: The Mob, the Music, and the Most Famous Dance Club of the '60s" by John Johnson, Joel Selvin and Dick Cami. Anyone who remembers Joey Dee and the Starliters will enjoy this as well.
Margaret Callahan November 30, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Baffled, do you know the diff between conducting a witch hunt and doing your HOMEWORK? having a rescue fee of $350 does not put you on the level with Fred Acker. stop calling anyone crazy til you have actually done your homework. bombarding a comment stream with questions does not qualify as investigation.
KTB November 30, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Baffled Resident.... Humane Society has 1,000,000 of dollars and does the same thing brings dogs from down South and soesn't help local shelters....Puts inncocent dogs to sleep and does usually accept pitbull... A local shelter is the best place to go is a shelter!!
Jessica Haight December 01, 2012 at 04:22 PM
It is always astonishing to me when I hear about another human being treating animals like this. I have never understood how anyone could participate in puppy mills or associate with the people who deal in them for a profit. Thanks to Judy for bringing this person's actions into the light. I'm sure there are many grateful puppies out there : ) ~ Jess
Tails of Courage December 03, 2012 at 07:39 PM
In rescue we hear a large number of rumors about various groups. Whether they are true, or just rumor gossip we usually are never really sure. However, this individual in rescue was spoken of like the boogie man when I first began volunteering. Across the board rescue groups in CT were disgusted. We have never had any contact with him so can't speak to his rescue but it is rare to hear so many negative comments aimed at one group or person. Here is another group who were shipping large numbers of pups into CT and who a volunteer of the organization adopted from and had a terrible experience. http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20121115/NEWS01/311150037/Adopt-A-Lab
Amanda Fredericks October 21, 2013 at 09:03 AM
Sorry to say but this SPCA is still in business, just appointed a new "director"
Shirley B. Backus October 21, 2013 at 10:58 PM
It's good to know that Fred Acker is no longer director, but does he still work there? Was he fired? What's happening with his trial? It is now "safe" to go to the Adoption Network, or should it still be avoided?
Debbie October 22, 2013 at 07:02 AM
Probably same people,He is the founder I believe.And his mother is listed as property owner.I wouldn't get an animal from there even though we feel like they need to be rescued from him.They are a money making group and don't care if they sell you a sick dog and if they truly cared,why keep them in horrible conditions.The only way those animals will be saved is to have people keep making calls to the State about the place and the conditions of the animals.They need to be forever SHUT DOWN.
Shirley B. Backus October 22, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Thanks for the info, Debbie! I didn't realize that it was a "family business." If we can spread the word that Adoption Network is one of the worst places to adopt a pet, maybe we can reduce their business and put them out of business permanently. I'd like to see pet shops become responsible for reporting puppy mills, much like social workers are responsible for reporting child abuse. If it can be proven that a pet shop knowingly accepted puppies from a mill, they should be arrested, and the mill put out of business. In this way, pet shops could continue to sell puppies from compassionate, registered breeders while being the eyes and ears we need to find and shut down these horrible places. If we stop the pet shops from selling all puppies, kittens, etc., we will have a harder time locating puppy mills. If we can't find them, we can't stop them!
chienblanc4csi November 30, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Coincidentally, I just posted this reprise of a video presentation by Dr. Arnie Goldman, where he has a few choice words about Acker's so-called "rescue" importation business: http://www.puppiesanddogsinfo.com/flash/goldmanSeparate.html It's about time to bring down cut to the chase with the seemingly endless number of animal rescue groups, possibly in concert with the USDA's new APHIS rule in support of the Animal Welfare Act. The rule now defines animal transport businesses including non-profits, as "dealers" that require a USDA license and inspections. It's about time. This jerk is only the tip of the iceberg! Yet the public remains clueless, carefully played by masters of manipulative language and constant repetition of gruesome images combined with meaningless epithets. The public has been lied to, told that there is no such thing as a reputable, conscientious dog breeder, and if they don't "rescue" a dog, they risk eternal damnation or something close. It's madness! Just look at how destructive the importation of pets has turned out to be. And yet how profitable. I hope the legitimate rescue groups can pull together and help keep tabs on groups like Acker's and their many tentacles - the dept. of ag doesn't have the manpower, so the good guys have to help. Dr. Goldman has some words to the wise in this regard, take a listen to the video, please. I am not from Connecticut, but my upper midwestern state has a similar problem. Our state's largest humane society happens to be the worst offender, believe it or not. They turn their backs on homeless dogs in favor of shipments of puppies - yes, puppies! - imported from southern states via the Petsmart Waggin' truck. They gave up all AC services about 20 years ago to become a retail pet store with all the credibility - and tax benefits - of a real humane society. They well puppies and young adults for $500 ea., and older dogs for $300+. If only guys like Acker were an anomaly. He's not. Are folks going to finally believe that the greed of many rescue groups easily surpasses that of just about any breeder we can think of? A substandard breeder would salivate at the amount of money Acker and my local humane society gets for mixed breed dogs of unknown origins with no guarantee of health beyond "trust me, a rescue wouldn't lie". Keep spreading the word!
Shirley B. Backus November 30, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Thank you! I believe that, instead of forbidding pet shops to sell puppies and kittens, they should be required, by law, to report any suspected animal abuses- either from the condition of the animals they receive, or by complaints from customers. In this way we will have another important tool in finding and closing abusive breeders. If we can't find them, we can't put them out of business. Pet shops could be our eyes and ears in the same way that social workers, teachers and anybody else who works with children are required to report suspected child abuse. If more people had reported Acker's abuses, he would have been out of business long ago!
Ralph Crozier December 21, 2013 at 12:33 PM
hey all you idiots and unbelievably bigoted fools acker was found not negligent by the civil judge who ordered 45 dogs returned judy umstead appealed now the judge has the case in the criminal court want to bet regardless of your uninformed opinions he will be found innocent judy seized siberian huskys claiming they were cold whos the fool? there are 65 dogs that have lived without love for 15 months in dog pounds thank to the misguided agenda of judy the town of bethlehem at 15$ a day owes the other towns now 400,000$ wow what genius arent those dogs soooo better off???? acker is NO KILL are you?
Debbie December 21, 2013 at 03:24 PM
@ Ralph Crozier....No dogs were ordered given back to him.The ruling was for the small dogs vs big dogs.( Regardless of size,they all were affected by the cold conditions.) I find it very interesting that as Acker's lawyer you are not comprehending the ruling.If your post with it's lack of punctuation and capitalization is any indication of the kind of lawyer you are,he is in even more trouble.The dogs have been living in warm conditions with food and care.More than they would have/did get in a cold barn.Oh,but then again,they would have been sold already for close to $400.00 each.If you truly believe that Acker will be found innocent ,then you are delusional as he is.Good luck Acker with this "LAWYER"of yours.
Debbie January 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM
http://www.countytimes.com/ Frederick Acker Found Guilty of 15 Counts of Animal Cruelty in Litchfield Court Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014
Debbie January 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM
Shirley B.Backus- Ackers kennel manager is now the director of the facility!!Susan Fernandez.Good way to keep things running in the same despicable way.This "SPCA" name is such a play off of a good organization-ASPCA. He was sentenced to 6 mos,suspended sentence and $15,000.00 fine.and 2 years probation.We can only hope,since I do not know,that the 2 year probation includes NO contact with or selling of animals.


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