Man charged with animal cruelty

Montville - A Groton man was arrested Wednesday and charged with animal cruelty stemming from the discovery in November of more than 40 animals living in horrid conditions in an apartment on Norwich-New London Turnpike.

Walter W. Boza, 39, of 85 Bishop Lane, Groton, was charged Wednesday with five counts of animal cruelty.

According to an arrest warrant prepared by Animal Control Officer Christian Martel, her office received a tip on Nov. 17 that the animals were living in squalid conditions.

The tipster, Ginger Boughton, said her stepdaughter, Monica Boughton, who lived in an apartment at 1591 Norwich-New London Turnpike, was just released from the hospital.

While Monica Boughton was in the hospital, she left the animals in the care of Boza, who was her boyfriend, the warrant said.

Martel said she went to the apartment on Nov. 17 and immediately noticed a strong odor of ammonia and feces emanating from the apartment. The Uncas Health Department condemned the apartment.

Martel said she removed a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, who had a growth on its rear the size of half a football, which was also covered in feces.

She found two cages containing 18 ferrets. There was no food or water, and the animals were so lethargic she initially thought they were dead, the warrant said.

Some of the ferrets were missing large amounts of fur and were infested with fleas and flea dirt.

Martel said the entire apartment was strewn in filth.

"There were insects flying throughout the apartment in swarms," the warrant said.

She found an aquarium with a bearded dragon, which had no water. In another aquarium, she found a fish tank with a few live fish in it and several that were floating.

A cat in the apartment was curled up and could barely lift its head when Martel approached it, the warrant said.

Martel also found more cats, kittens, snakes, guinea pigs and rats.

None of the animals had water. One of the dead rats was so dehydrated that it was completely flattened, the warrant said.

Monica Boughton signed over the animals to animal control. Some of the animals were brought to All Friends Veterinary Hospital in Norwich for treatment.

The animals that survived have since been adopted.

Martel spoke to Boza on Nov. 23. He admitted that he was caring for the animals while Boughton was in the hospital. He said he was not receiving any financial help from Boughton to care for the animals.

He said he was staying elsewhere, but he was going to the apartment on an almost daily basis to feed the animals.

Boza said in the warrant that he realized there were too many animals to care for and that he meant to turn the animals over to the Connecticut Humane Society. but that he had never gotten around to doing so.

Boza is out on a promise to appear and is scheduled to appear in Norwich Superior Court on Feb. 17.

i.larraneta@theday.com

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