New Haven Man Charged with Animal Cruelty for Abandoning 'Lincoln' In Branford
At left, the abandoned dog found in Branford on January 24; right, the dog, named Lincoln by the Dan Crosgrove Animal Shelter staff, showing progress during his recovery in a photo with Laura Selvaggio Burban, Director of the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter and Animal Control Department, posted Feb. 14. Images from Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter on Facebook )
On March 3, Branford police issued an animal cruelty arrest warrant for a New Haven resident who confessed to abandoning a white pit bull outside Branford Community House on January 23, 2021, according to a press release issued March 3 by Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter.
The emaciated dog was not discovered until it was reported the next morning at approximately 7 a.m. on January 24, appearing "thin, cold and extremely frightened," and displaying "both aggressive and fearful behaviors to arriving animal control officers," according to the press release, issued by Laura Selvaggio Burban, Director of the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter and Animal Control Department. Once the officers set up a dog trap with food inside, the dog "immediately" went in, Burban noted.
In the ensuing days and weeks, the shelter worked with Branford Police Department the State Animal Control Department, local media and community members to assist with an investigation to find the person who had abandoned the dog, given the name Lincoln by the shelter. The investigation and outreach resulted in issuing an arrest warrant for Bless Rivera, 22, of New Haven, who confessed to the charge, according to the press release. The warrant charges Rivera with animal cruelty in violation of C.G.S.53-247(a).
"Our concern is for the safety of both the residents and the animals in the town," said Burban. "Abandoning animals is not only cruel to the animal, but it can also cause public safety concerns. Please contact your local animal shelter or our department if you are finding yourself in a position where you are considering abandoning an animal. If we do not have space, we will offer resource guidance and other assistance."
Beginning with the first social media posts shared by the shelter at its Facebook page, Lincoln became the subject thousands of views and several fundraising efforts as posts shared the dog's progress toward recovery.
The shelter updated followers about the status of the 2-year-old mix breed, including notes on his disposition (loves giving kisses and rough and tumble play) and health care as he was assessed and assisted with becoming eligible for adoption.
On Tuesday, March 2, the shelter took to Facebook to announce Lincoln had been adopted to his "forever home," sharing that, "....Lincoln's new owner [ is] a vet tech. Lincoln lives with another dog , [in] a fenced in yard and is signed up for training. He has a wonderful, dedicated new family to adore him for the rest of his life."
The post also shared a video of Lincoln's journey over the past weeks, as a way "... to honor all of you who have donated, supported and sent good wishes for Lincoln!" The post also noted, "We are so proud of Lincoln for thriving in the face of all he went through. We are honored to have been able to help Lincoln through his rehabilitation with the help of Madison Veterinary Hospital. We also want to thank John Frisco for his fundraiser to help Lincoln."
Frisco, an East Haven resident and owner of Frisco's Pizza, hosted a February fundraiser for Lincoln which raised $6,500 for the no-kill municipal Cosgrove Animal Shelter, which serves Branford and North Branford.