The director of a controversial animal shelter in Monroe filed a lawsuit against two Monroe police officers this week accusing them of wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution, violation of his 4th and 14th amendment rights, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
Fred Acker, who runs the SPCA of Connecticut on Spring Hill Road in Monroe, was charged with breach of peace and third-degree assault in June, 2010. The wrongful arrest caused him mental anguish, fear, and humiliation, according to the lawsuit filed in Bridgeport Superior Court.
Acker requested a prospective adopter leave the shelter after the person tried to enter a part of the shelter closed to the public, according to the lawsuit. The person called the police. Officers Andrew Wall and Michael Sweeney responded to the call, according to the lawsuit. Acker approached the officers with two employees to give his own account, and the officers placed him under arrest and took him to police headquarters, where he was handcuffed. The police refused to take statements from the employees with Acker, who said they had eyewitness accounts, according to the lawsuit.
Acker is seeking monetary damages greater than $15,000.
“Officers responded to a complaint from a member of the public and took appropriate action,” Monroe police chief John Salvatore said.
Acker said the arrest is an example of systemic harassment he has gotten from the police department for the past 12 years because the town of Monroe would like to see him go out of business.
A recent court order mandated Acker reduce the number of dogs on his property from more than 80 to 29 by April 30 to comply with zoning requirements. As of Wednesday, there are 66 dogs on the property, Acker said.
The charges against Acker were dropped in 2011.
The SPCA of Connecticut is not affiliated with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.