Branford man accused of strangling dog applies for special probation

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NEW HAVEN — The Branford man accused of strangling his dog applied for accelerated rehabilitation in court Tuesday, as animal rights activists protested, wearing t-shirts and with photos of the dog, Desmond.

Photos: New Haven animal rights activists call for “Justice for Desmond”

Alex Wullaert, 22, of Branford is charged with cruelty to animals and littering after allegedly admitting he strangled and dumped the body of his pit bull/boxer mix in a Madison pond, according to the warrant for his arrest.

He applied for AR — a special form of probation — as protesters stood outside calling for the maximum sentence for him, as they did when he made his first court appearance. Wullaert’s case was continued to June 26.

During his court appearance Tuesday morning, one group of protesters sat right behind Wullaert, filling more than one row, and another group stayed outside. The protesters inside sat quietly behind Wullaert, holding photos of Desmond.

Doreen Doty of Burlington, Conn., spoke outside of the courthouse Tuesday and said she wants something to be done that will actually help Wullaert, and she doesn’t think AR is the right approach.

Accelerated rehab is a program that allows people charged for the first time with a crime a “second chance.” If admitted into the program, Wullaert would be placed on probation for up to two years, and if probation was completed satisfactorily the charges against him would be dismissed.

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Protesters greet alleged dog killer at court – Video

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A Branford man made a brief court appearance Tuesday after being charged with choking his dog to death when it misbehaved, and animal activists were there to greet him.

Alex Wullaert, 22, appeared Tuesday morning in New Haven Superior Court on animal cruelty and littering charges.

He has remained free on a promise to appear in court after being arrested last week when his dog was found dead inside a plastic bag in Madison in June.

A microchip found inside the dog’s body helped lead police to Wullaert.

Melissa Izzo said she works at the animal shelter where the dog, Desmond, was adopted.

“He was an absolutely wonderful dog,” she said. “He was sweet and affectionate and quiet.”

Police said Wullaert confessed to strangling the pit bull-boxer mix after it urinated on his leg and bit him.

At court Tuesday, several people carrying signs greeted Wullaert as he walked into – and out of – court. Some of the protesters even walked along side Wullaert, shouting “coward” and “murderer” at him.

Wullaert said in court papers that he put flowers on the lake where he tossed the dog’s body.

Activists have set up a Facebook page “Justice for Desmond” to help organize their protest.

Court officials said the case was continued until June 5.

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