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Dog-friendly Event Honors West Haven Cop Who Cracked Burned Dog Case

Dog-friendly Event Honors West Haven Cop Who Cracked Burned Dog Case

New Haven Register, Oct. 24, 2019

By Pam McLoughlin

The founder of Green Fur Kidz Inc. will hold a “Strut Your Pup Against Animal Cruelty” Halloween event Sunday that also will honor West Haven police Detective Mike Wolf, who put in extra effort to crack the case of a small dog burned at Sandy Point Bird Sanctuary during the summer.

Wolf, who could not be reached for comment, will be honored in a ceremony featuring state representatives and Mayor Nancy R. Rossi.

“Everyone knows him and has something good to say about him,” said Meli Garthwait, founder of Green Fur Kidz Inc., an organization that rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes dogs. “It’s not only this specific case, but he’s worked on tons of cases.”

She said Wolf finding suspects in the case was of great relief to residents.

“It was unnerving thinking there was a serial killer on the loose and we were all worried about satanic rituals," Garthwait said.

The ceremony will be held rain or shine at the bird sanctuary, but the Halloween Strut Your Pup walk down the boardwalk that was to take place later will be cancelled or postponed if it rains as predicted, Garthwait said.

Animals are encouraged to dress in costume — if they like that — but are welcome without costume, as well, Garthwait said. The event is meant for dogs that are socialized, she said.

Garthwait said they decided to give special honor to Wolf because he can’t collect any of the reward money offered in the case for his valiant efforts.

Wolf also was recognized at a memorial service for the burned terrier, whose remains were found July 5. 

Two charged in case back to top

In an arrest warrant affidavit, police stated it appeared the dog — named Brooklyn — already was dead when it was set on fire, but was “neglected” during the course of its life.

Two people are charged in the case: Brooklyn’s owner, Latrice Moody, 35 at the time of her arrest, of West Haven, and Maurice Jackson, 41 when charged. The pair face charges including breach of peace, illegal dumping and open burning. Moody also is charged with animal cruelty.

Moody told police she had come home from the Norwalk fireworks to find Brooklyn dead, according to the affidavit. She told police she and Jackson, also of West Haven, agreed to cremate the dog’s body and did so in a parking lot at the beach. Instead of ashes, as she had planned for, the dog’s flesh and bones were left after the fire.

Criminal charges lodged against the couple could be resolved next month.

The original plan was to create a tasteful, naturalistic memorial to Brooklyn at the sanctuary, but instead of disturbing the unique look of the sanctuary, Garthwait said they will hold a Strut your Pup Against Animal Cruelty event each year in Brooklyn’s memory, but not necessarily at this time of year.

In court recently, Moody applied for a special form of probation, called accelerated rehabilitation, that could have seen the charges dismissed if certain conditions are met. But she had to withdraw her application because of a marijuana conviction on her record from nearly two decades ago. The program is only eligible for first-time offenders.

Her lawyer, Richard Silverstein, said in court he would try to get the charge expunged from her record before Moody is scheduled to return to court, at which point her accelerated rehabilitation application could be renewed.

Judge Maureen Dennis continued Moody’s and Jackson’s cases to Oct. 18.

Garthwait said she believes the case of Brooklyn and the heavy publicity around it has raised awareness of animal cruelty. Anecdotally, Garthwait said more people seem to be reporting suspected cases of neglect and abuse, rather than turning away.