.

Double-Killing, Double-Billing at Stratford Animal Control? (Documents)

'This was an intentional method of committing fraud,' alleges a former officer.

Financial documents obtained by a show the apparent double-billing of 13 cats for veterinarian services in September 2011.

Nine of those cats were charged twice for euthanasia treatments on the same day, documents (attached in photo gallery) show.

The 13 cats were seized in an animal cruelty case at an Albert Avenue home on Sept. 2, 2011. Two additional cats were taken from the home as well, but only charged for one veterinarian visit each at in Milford; i.e., there is only one invoice for each of the two cats.

All 15 cats were euthanized within four weeks of the search and seizure, according to a monthly officer’s report signed by Rachel Solveira (also provided in photo gallery).

"This was an intentional method of committing fraud," says Michael Griffin, who served as Stratford's chief municipal animal control officer for 15 years until retiring about six years ago. "This is off the charts...it's falsifying records."

Photos of the invoices and matching purchase orders obtained by Griffin via a Freedom of Information Act request to the town's financial department are included in the photo gallery of this article. The Stratford Police Department is currently .

The 15 cats are labeled in the invoices from Snowflake as patients 11-114 through 11-128 (marked with stars in photo gallery). Each invoice has a corresponding purchase order signed by the head of the town's purchasing department.

Documents show that with four of the cats (11-115, 11-124, 11-125, 11-128), each was charged $130.50 for vet services on either Sept. 9 or Sept. 8, before being euthanized on Sept. 22. The town was billed $45 for each euthanasia treatment.

"Why are you examining these cats you're going to put down?" says Griffin, alleging animal control knew it was going to euthanize the animals before the Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 visits. "Why spend almost a third of (about $10,000) on 15 cats?"

What follows is a case-by-case look at the billing for the treatment of three of the cats, per the attached documents.

Cat 11-114

Two invoices from Snowflake, both dated 9/8.

Invoice number 49199 details following services, totaling $76.50: Office Exam ($25); Feline Sedation ($15); Euthanasia ($45); Shelter Discount 10% Off (-$8.50). Matching purchase order number 92560 (dated 10/25) verifies $76.50 payment.

Invoice number 50739 details following services, totaling $90: Office Exam ($25); Feline Sedation ($15); Euthanasia ($45); Shelter Discount (-$8.50); Feline Boarding ($13.50) Matching purchase order number 92888 (dated 12/1) verifies $90 payment.

Cat 11-115

Two invoices, one dated 9/9, the other 9/22.

Invoice number 49163 (dated 9/9) details following services, totaling $130.50: Office Exam ($25); Rabies Vaccine 1 Year ($20); Feline Distemper Vaccine 1 Year ($20); FeLV/FIV/HW Triple Snap Test ($25); Bartonella Test ($55); Shelter Discount 10% Off (-$14.50). Matching purchase order number 92560 (dated 10/25) verifies $130.50 payment.

Invoice number 50384 (dated 9/22) details following services, totaling $76.30: Feline Sedation ($25); Euthanasia ($45); Shelter Discount (-$7); Boarding ($13.30). Matching purchase order number 92888 (dated 12/1) verifies $76.30 payment.

Cat 11-116

Two invoices, both dated 9/7.

Invoice number 49172 details following services, totaling $135: Office Exam ($25); Rabies Vaccine 1 Year ($20); Feline Distemper Vaccine 1 Year ($20); FeLV/FIV/HW Triple Snap Test ($25); Feline Sedation ($15); Euthanasia ($45); Shelter Discount 10% Off (-$15). Matching purchase order number 92560 (dated 10/25) verifies $135 payment.

Invoice number 50385 details following services, totaling $148.30: Office Exam ($25); Rabies Vaccine 1 Year ($20); Feline Distemper Vaccine 1 Year ($20); FeLV/FIV/HW Triple Snap Test ($25); Feline Sedation ($15); Euthanasia ($45); Shelter Discount 10% Off (-$15); Boarding ($13.30). Matching purchase order number 92888 (dated 12/1) verifies $148.30 payment.

--

Snowflake Pet Center referred comment to Stratford Animal Control, which directed Patch to the Stratford Police Department, who said Deputy Chief Joseph McNeil was not available for comment.

Patricia Pell August 07, 2012 at 07:54 PM
come on... really? All stratford does is kill cats. Dogs they find homes for... cats they kill.
User August 07, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Clearly looks like Griffin is out to cause trouble for the shelter, and also to make snowflake pet center look bad. After looking breifly over the above article and pictures, it appears that 1. they are not exact duplicated receipts. Some have boarding on them, while the 2nd receipt for the same animal doesnt have boarding on it. Maybe one of them was suppose to be disposed of and not submitted because of revisions? Maybe Snowflakes billing software doesnt allow them to open up closed bills, and they had to generate a new invoice number to recreate a new bill to submit to the shelter because the first one was suppose to be voided? Take into consideration that Snowflake Pet Center has been a huge part of the animal industry for over 40yrs. I read the paper every day, i've seen more good articles about them helping different town / city shelters, rescue groups, charitable events, and then on top of all that, being the "Go To" place for grooming, boarding, and vet care. Griffen really needs to find something else better to do with his time because harassing a local business like Snowflake and "probing" the shelter seems like a big waste of time, when it could have easily been a minor mistake. Who is he to use the work "intentional"?
Matt August 07, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Yes...pillars of the community have never been known to be caught up is misdoings and scandalous or illegal behavior...how could you tarnish such a good name Mr. Griffin?
Catmommie August 07, 2012 at 09:20 PM
K9-lover: A couple of years ago when we had to put our dog down, we were told by Shoreline Animal Hospital that euthanasia was painful and sedation was best. We didn't know if it was true, but for our peace of mind at a very difficult and heartbreaking time, we were happy to pay that extra little bit of money. Further research on the internet does say that while not necessary, it is humane.
k-9 lover August 07, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Charged for boarding? Why did we spend 3 mill for shelter with a cat room? So we're paying for sedation for the peace of mind for an ACO? which isnt the pet owner, ok, good!
Becky August 08, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Is griffin trying to get his job back? I'm sure there was a good reason he was fired. I'm sure there is an explanation for this, just like there is a reason for everything. Stratford Animal Control spreads their business around, however, sometimes I imagine other vets can't be as accommodating as Snowflakes boarding, grooming, and M-Sat vet hosp with extended hours on Saturday... Many times I have had an emergency with my dog and 2 cats and they do everything they can to accommodate me for appointments. One time I had to put my cat to sleep, they hadn't seen her before but I am an established client and they required doing an exam on my cat. When I asked why I was told the doctor will not put any pet down unless there is something wrong. I have read crazy stories where people are moving, can't take pet, so they try to euthanize their perfectly healthy pet; because they are that cold hearted. Or, they can't afford the urinary issues their pet has.... This world is a little crazy at times... In the medical field, everything is thorough, mistakes happen, if an error occurred I'm sure Snowflake and Stratford will straighten it out. No need to try to bring everyone around you, down with you.
Debbie August 08, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Officer Mike Griffin was NOT fired.He retired in 2006.He received an Honorable Career Citation when he did.
k-9 lover August 08, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Error...? More like calculated and deliberate.
Jim Ravis August 08, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Should look into getting Snowflake Pet Center's records audited. Fraud?
Twoply August 08, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Why are we using veterinarian services in Milford rather than Stratford?
Pandora Fulton August 08, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Its humorous how a person with such a highly (pun intended) regarded history (that's sarcasm kids) as Mr. Griffin, has all this free time to stir up all kinds of loosely Patch (pun intended) worked conspiracy theories all aimed at one place. Watching the grass (pun intended) grow can be boring, I get that. Its starting to appear that Mulligan's muses on the Star and Griffin's grunts on the patch are beginning to intersect. The most noticeable difference is that Mr. Mulligan has a general paranoia of everything, and Mr. Griffin appears to be paranoid of "the man". While the above documents don't appear to have been home made like other 'evidence' offered by Mr. Griffin, User & Searching seem to have found a hole in the accusations. (sorry, no clever word play there)
k-9 lover August 09, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Lets not forget 5.00 adoptions that as stfd animal shelter were advertising for 125.00. Who in the town decided to up the state regulated fee?. For what appeares to be five plus years of purposely overcharging residence. Where did that money go? STARS, STFD aco accounts, someones pocket. I for one would like to know. Dogs that were returned and no refund was given. I'll bet the shredder at scumbag kennels has been workin' overtime. Still no reply from the owner in milford, why?
Debbie August 09, 2012 at 12:48 AM
If there was no validity to this,why hasn't the police department clarified exactly what the so called "evidence" proved?I am sure the Stratford police dept. would not allow this to continue for this long.
Dom DeCicco August 09, 2012 at 10:09 AM
I observed something interesting the other night during one of my walks. As I am unsure of what was going on, I will hold off on commenting on what it was that I observed. I was not able to make out the sticker on the back of the vans; however, two blue vans with oval shaped logos on the rear left doors. Would anyone happen to know which pet center these vehicles might be from? They were both loaded with dogs in containers and seemed to be of two separate model vans. I believe the logo on the rear left doors were beige.
Joseph Pedoto August 09, 2012 at 01:24 PM
I wonder, as do others above, when the SPD is going to issue a statement as to their conclusions about all this? How long can this sort of investigation take? I am concerned and confused about cats apparently charged boarding fees that were euthanized on the same day? Cats that were given preventative care like rabies shots that were also euthanized the same day? There may be simple explanations for all of this, it may not be a case of fraud or padded billing. However, if I was the owner of Snowflake Kennels and could defend or explain these anomalies I certainly wouldn't wait for the SPD's report. I would publicly correct the record immediately. This is about the reputation of a successful family-run business that has been around for more than a generation. If it was my business and my family I wouldn't let these accusations stand for a minute, if I could produce the documentation that would decisively prove Mike Griffin is wrong. I wouldn't wait for the SPD or put the burden of proof on the town's ACO's or the volunteer group STARS. Having these charges linger cannot be good for Snowflake's bottom line. I sincerely wish that Snowflake Kennels would respond to all this and offer the public a detailed explanation of their own.
Michael August 10, 2012 at 12:33 AM
In Greek mythology, Zeus, who was the big boss, had a daughter named Pandora. She was very inquisitive and when her father gave her a box with a lock and told her not to open it., the first opportunity she got, she opened it. Out of that box came disease and sickness, hate and envy, violence and intolerance, and every negative thing the world had never seen before because none of these evil things had existed before in the world. You must be the Twenty-First Century version of that Pandora because when you write your diatribes, we can feel the evil and sarcasm in your heart. If you want to communicate, don't address your audience like we are 5th grade students and you're that nasty elementary school teacher we all had at one time or another. And by the way, we all understand when a pun is intended.
RMK August 10, 2012 at 01:01 PM
In his FOI request, why didn't Mike get the proof of payment, rather than the documents which aren't very enlightening in regard to how much was actually paid. As others have pointed out, they could be copies of corrected or updated bills/receipts/invoices. In all honesty, it looks like Griffin is on a personal vendetta, and probably spending a huge portion of time pouring over whatever he can get his hands on in order to pin something, anything on the ACOs at the shelter. One has to wonder what is motivating him and consider that into the equation. Ken Starr of the Clinton-era witch hunts would be impressed. One other thing: the time in question was at the height of the hoading situation. You had ACOs dealing with not just 15 ailing cats in an abusive setting as first suggested, but over 35 cats. Their documentation and notes during that time seem about as comprehensive as you'd expect with 3 officers dealing with that one major problem. Also, was that when the ACO's were down one officer due to the Mayor's budgetary layoff?
k-9 lover August 10, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Homemade evidence? If it looks homemade to you talk to the town clerk, thats where it came from i understand. Mr. Griffin would have no reason to print it up in his basement. Follow the money trail people.....
Mike August 11, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Stratford has always been a corrupt little jerkwater berg, controled by little breaucrats ruling over their fiefdons. Woe be onto you if you cross one of them. Nothing will ever be done about corruption in Stratford unless the people demand it. And then only enough will be done to get the people to shut up. Stratford government is a haven for misfits and meglamainiacs. It always was, and always will be. Why did Fairfield get rid of this ACO? Did it have something to do with her filing leagal action against a cat? No suprise Stratford hired her.
Tom August 13, 2012 at 09:18 PM
I hate to be the one to say it, but most of the time, the people that get themselves so involved in interests such as this, tend to be out of their minds. I was watching a documentary the other day related to people who hoard dangerous animals and eventually meet with tragedy or some serious legal problems. In it, one guy had convinced himself somewhere along the line (that was his mind), that it was a great idea to cage a pride of lions and raise them in his backyard. In the end, the ACO and the guy who had fought to keep his lions were reduced to a scene where they both sat crying over the death of one of the lions. I got up from the couch in disbelief, turned the tube off, and said to myself, “What a bunch of nut-bags.” This new approach to dealing with animals is unsustainable and adding to the collapse of our town’s budget, but our politicians will stay the course—won’t they? After all, it picks up a few votes and think about all that free grant money.
Joseph Pedoto August 13, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I'm not quite sure what your point is, Tom. The town most certainly did not increase the budget for Animal Control. And exactly what free grant money are you referring to? Animal hoarding is a very sad situation. But what if you lived next door to someone who had say, 15 dogs on a typical Stratford 1/5 of an acre, Tom? Wouldn't you turn to the town to deal with the problem? As for the comments above from Mike, I lived for 25 years in NYC. If you think Stratford is a jerkwater town controlled by petty bureaucrats ruling over little fiefdoms, I've got news for you: there's more corruption in any two random Brooklyn neighborhoods than in all of Stratford, Trumbull, Shelton and Fairfield combined. When I first moved in there was a popular T-shirt that depicted a burning tenement building with a grinning skull hovering over it. It read: "Brooklyn – Where the Weak are Killed and Eaten!" Also, can legal action be filed against a cat? Surely you must mean a cat owner, right?
k-9 lover August 14, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Joe do a search, Solveira issued a restraining order on Lewis the cat in ffld. Picked up by news outlets around the globe and laughed at.
Jim Ravis August 14, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Joey - read these... TOWN OF STRATFORD, EX REL, STERRETT PIXLEY v. CATS, FOUR http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=FBTCV116023306S TOWN OF STRATFORD, EX REL, STERRETT PIXLEY, ASST. v. CATS, SIX http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=FBTCV116022318S
RMK August 14, 2012 at 11:45 AM
k-9 lover, the restraining order you speak of was placed on Lewis the cat due his penchant for attacking neighbors, including the Avon Lady. He was under "house arrest" to keep him restrained to his house because of the many complaints submitted to the town officials regarding his nasty temperament. It gained notoriety because of the unique and somewhat humorous situation - not because the officer mishandled the issue. There seems to be a vendetta driven by cranks against this officer -- one that has been bolstered by a former animal control officer with a rather disturbing and shadowy history.
Joseph Pedoto August 14, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Jim, when I'm wrong I'm the first to admit it. The links you provided clearly show that the legal action were taken 1.) against four cats (non-appearing) and William Perreira and 2.) against six cats represented by a Middletown, CT attorney. This confirms what I've always suspected: you can't trust cats. Not only do they refuse to appear in court but evidently they have large sums of money stashed away, enough to afford the services of an attorney. My own two dogs may not have a dime to their names, but if required would certainly SIT and STAY in court.
k-9 lover August 14, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Why is it that the town chooses to name the animals as defendants rather than the owners?
k-9 lover August 17, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Jerkwater berg....aka Stratford,a town for all seasons that offers more from forest to the shore.....love it
Joseph Pedoto August 17, 2012 at 11:59 PM
k-9 lover: Just wondering, you have such a negative opinion of Stratford: do you live here? And if so, why? If it's such a "jerkwater berg" why don't you move to someplace nicer like Greenwich or Ridgefield? You've also posted against the proposed dog park. If you're really a k-9 lover, you must know that dogs are pack animals. They would prefer to live in group of 6 to 10 dogs, instead of being cooped up as a single dog in a suburban home. Why would you oppose a place where dogs (and humans) could meet and socialize?
Debbie October 12, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Update for all those that bad mouthed Mr.Griifin....The double billing did happen and the Town has been reimbursed for the over payments.He found this and unfortunately the people in charge did not! He was thanked for his information.
stick lee October 27, 2012 at 02:06 AM
.......or have they?

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something