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    Thursday, September 28, 2023

    Fired animal control officer sues Stonington

    Stonington — Former animal control officer Rae Jean Davis has sued town officials in federal court for firing her in 2013 after she said she filed numerous complaints about impounded animals not being cared for properly on her days off and for trying to stop animals who needed more than $50 of medical care from being euthanized.

    Davis alleges that after police officials were unsuccessful in trying to force her to resign, they retaliated by investigating her personal and professional lives, fabricating charges and recruiting people to file accusations against her.

    The suit names the town, former First Selectman Ed Haberek and the Board of Police Commissioners.

    First Selectmen George Crouse said this week he was not aware of the lawsuit and would not have any comment on it.

    In October 2013, the town fired Davis, in part because officials said she set up her own cat rescue organization and then allegedly lied about her involvement with it when questioned by police.

    Because she said she grew weary of having to euthanize animals that only needed basic medical care, Davis said she started her own group to help the animals the town would not care for.

    She said she then found them homes and never charged an adoption fee or required a donation.

    In her suit, Davis states that beginning in February 2013, she began filing reports with photographic evidence with police that other staff members failed to provide food and water or clean the cages of dogs, resulting in noxious fumes and illness.

    The police department oversees the animal control facility.

    She said her contract required her to care for and maintain the animal control facility. She said her concerns were never addressed and Haberek refused to meet with her.

    She said that after she filed the complaints, police began to investigate a variety of issues involving her, including her personal medical care. She alleges she was fired in October 2013 for excessive medical leave after having knee surgery in June.

    Davis, who is represented by Groton attorney Donald Williams, said the town also instructed her assistant to ignore her and denied her crucial training. She charges the town also advised a Montville woman who had conflicts with Davis to file complaints against her.

    Davis alleges that she repeatedly was denied the opportunity for representation when she was questioned by the town about issues related and unrelated to her job.

    Because the town had argued her rescue group was a conflict of interest, Davis said she was prepared to argue her case in front of the town Ethics Commission but could not because the town has never formed an ethics panel even though it is required by the town charter.


    Twitter: @joewojtas

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