Animal advocates pack court appearance of ex-official

Posted: Updated:
FAIRFIELD -

Animal rights advocates packed the courtroom Monday as a former Fairfield official appeared on animal cruelty charges.

They've organized a petition with more than 51,000 signatures asking the judge to impose the maximum punishment if Ray Neuberger is found guilty. On the other hand, they say only about 18 percent of alleged animal abusers are convicted.

Neuberger, 34, is a former representative town meeting member who also ran unsuccessfully for the state House of Representatives.

He faces four counts of first-degree malicious wounding for allegedly seriously injuring his fiancee's two dogs, Thor and Charlie.

"Any abuse towards any living thing makes me sick," says Tina Bencze, who started the petition. "But the fact these animals are so small, and another living creature so great in size compared to them inflicted such injury and such fear, is just inexcusable."

Both dogs are Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

According to the arrest warrant, Thor had severe burns on 8 to 10 percent of his body, and Charlie had multiple fractured ribs and bruising to his lungs.

Neuberger's lawyer, Noah Kores, says the defense is still trying to gather what evidence prosecutors have in their possession.

Neuberger was referred to a program for substance abuse testing. He's due back in court at the end of the month and was ordered to have no contact with the dogs.

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