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State Department of Agriculture seeks custody of nearly 2 dozen dogs seized from Higganum home

The Dept. of Agriculture is seeking permanent custody, as well as Moore to reimburse the department for the cost of taking care of the dogs while in their care.

HADDAM, Conn. — Editor's Note: The video above was published in May 2022.

The state's Attorney General has moved for state custody of 28 German Shepherds that were seized from a home in Higganum in May.

The neglected dogs and puppies have been recovering and receiving care in a variety of places around Connecticut. When the Department of Agriculture receives full custody of the dogs, they will find permanent homes for the dogs, state officials said.

Dean Moore is facing 20 counts of animal cruelty; he left his home on April 18 for a six-and-a-half-week-long trip to the Philippines. There were 23 German Shepherds left in the care of temporary caretakers, officials said.

Just weeks before the trip, two dogs gave birth to a total of 19 puppies, with another pregnant dog due soon after that. The 19 puppies were left outside in the cold and unprotected from the other adult dogs. Six of those puppies died within days of the trip, while the rest of the puppies were ill.

RELATED: Higganum man facing 20 counts of animal cruelty charges

The caretakers noticed the dogs were living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Only two weeks' worth of food was left for the dogs during Moore's trip, according to officials.

And when a caretaker contacted Moore regarding an injured puppy, Moore allegedly replied, "let nature take its course." The injured puppy was eventually euthanized at a local vet at the instruction of Moore, according to the arrest warrant. 

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Moore's caretakers contacted animal control, and they found the puppies suffering from parasites and an adult dog with untreated Lyme disease. The fencing is beyond repair, which is considered dangerous because the property is near a highway, according to officials; one dog escaped and hasn't been found. The Department of Agriculture asked Moore to take action and take care of the dogs with no success, officials said.

State animal control ultimately seized the dogs. The pregnant dog gave birth to five puppies while in the state's care.

RELATED: 16 pets seized in Torrington animal cruelty investigation

One of the pet caretakers spoke to FOX61 in May, explaining why she turned Moore in.

The Dept. of Agriculture is seeking permanent custody, as well as Moore to reimburse the department for the cost of taking care of the dogs while in their care.

Animal cruelty reports can be made to a local animal control department or the Department of Agriculture at 860-713-2506 or AGR.AnimalControl@ct.gov

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