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.