Southington volunteers caring for 31 cats, dog taken from home


SOUTHINGTON – Animal control staff and volunteers are helping look after 31 cats and a dog that were delivered to the shelter from a house last week.

Officials released few details concerning the home from which the animals were taken, saying there’s an ongoing investigation. Animal volunteers said the cats and dog are doing well due to help and donations from locals.

“It’s overwhelming but we’ve great volunteers and we’ve great resources. We put the word out to the community,” said Kitty Lukonis, president of the Friends of Southington Animal Control. “Southington community is amazing. We received Venmo donations, we were in a position to purchase the entire kitten food and the additional milk for the moms.”

Deputy Police Chief William Palmieri said police were initially told that a resident was having trouble feeding pets. Police together with the health, constructing and fire departments responded to the situation he said.

“We went there, they removed 31 cats and one dog,” Palmieri said. “Our first priority was to secure the cats and the dog, get them cared for.”

“We’ve an lively investigation on it right away,” he said.

Ann Marie Conaty, an animal control volunteer, has been working with the animals since they were brought in.

“For probably the most part, thank goodness, they were in pretty decent shape. They were flea ridden,” Conaty said. “For probably the most part, they appear like they’ve been eating OK. We don’t know the way they’ve been drinking. There was no running water in the home. They’re drinking enormous amounts of water right away.”

She said a veterinarian has checked out all of the animals. Among the cats were pregnant and have given birth to kittens.

The dog, Annabelle, is a pit bull mix. Conaty said she’s “very, very sweet.”

“She’d go to a house and fit right in,” she said. 

Conaty has been addressing the dog’s skin which was irritated by fleas. She also got the dog a bed.

“We gave her a bed and I believe it’s the primary time she ever slept in a bed,” she said.

With the investigation ongoing, it’s unclear whether the animals will return to their owner or go for adoption.

Lukonis said it’s rare to get this many animals unexpectedly at animal control. She said people have stepped up to supply needed food and other items. One volunteer, a pet groomer, was in a position to get enough cages for all of the cats.

“They’re getting great care,” Lukonis said of the animals.

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