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Stonington — The Board of Police Commissioners has fired Animal Control Officer Rae Jean Davis after eight years on the job.
The board made its decision after a 4½ hour executive session on Nov. 25.
Both Police Chief J. Darren Stewart and town labor attorney Michael Satti declined to comment Wednesday about why the board fired Davis, saying it was a personnel matter.
The Day has filed a request under the state Freedom of Information Act for Davis’ personnel file and any correspondence related to her employment.
Contacted Wednesday, Davis also declined to talk about why she was fired until she has an opportunity to speak to her lawyer. She indicated she would be willing to speak about the situation at a later date.
The town is now seeking applicants for the job. Until a new ACO is hired, Stewart said the animal control operation will be overseen by former assistant ACO Tonya Wescovich on a per diem basis, and by police Sgt. Louis Diamanti.
In related matter, a New London Superior Court judge issued a judgment in May that a Montville couple had to remove a website they had created called acoraejeandavisoutofcontrol.com and pay Davis $856 in damages, after she sued them.
The couple, Michelle and Vincent Gugliuzza, stated on the website that they wanted to bring to light their allegations that Davis falsified police reports and testified in family court to ruin people’s lives in an effort to gain power and notoriety. They charged that she would go so far as to endanger and kill animals to obtain this power. They posted Davis’ photo on the site.
They also set up an Internet petition to get Davis fired, and Michelle Gugliuzza posted what Davis called in her suit “malicious and libelous comments” about Davis on her Facebook page.
Davis’ suit said the actions of the Gugliuzzas caused her anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping and increased her high blood pressure. In issuing his judgment, Judge Leeland Cole-Chu ordered the Gugliuzzas to not post anything about Davis in the future.
In 2010, police charged Michelle Gugliuzza, then Michelle Courter, with selling cats she had allegedly stolen. They seized 24 cats from her home in Old Mystic and charged her with cruelty to animals. Davis played a prominent role in the investigation in which several cat owners alleged that Gugliuzza had stolen their pets and then listed them for sale. Gugliuzza denied the charges.
The state’s attorney’s office decided not to prosecute the case after Courter formed a nonprofit organization that would trap, vaccinate, neuter and find homes for feral cats and took a state course on trapping cats. She was ordered to pay the town $250 to cover the cost of caring for the seized cats.