Arraigned on new charges 24 hours after winning postponement of arraignment for deaths of five pit bulls
NEW CANAAN, Connecticut––Heidi Lueders, former president of the pit bull advocacy and fostering organization Bully Breed Rescue, on the evening of January 29, 2019 was arrested “on charges of [third degree] assault, threatening and disorderly conduct following a domestic dispute,” reported Marissa Alter of News 12 Connecticut, in Norwalk.
The new charges came only hours after Lueders won a two-week postponement of arraignment on cruelty charges for allegedly leaving five confined pit bulls to die in the rented home she occupied at the time, and for months after their deaths as their remains decomposed.
Domestic violence on top of cruelty
Lueders, 31, was arraigned on the domestic violence charges on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. Lueders’ arraignment on five counts of misdemeanor cruelty and one count of criminal damage to landlord’s property by a tenant in the first degree remains rescheduled for February 13, 2019.
Still conspicuously absent from the charge list are any alleged offenses pertaining to illegal drug use and/or misuse of funds donated to Bully Breed Rescue, both of which have been extensively claimed on social media by former associates of Lueders.
At Lueders’ arraignment on the cruelty charges, attorney Thom Page is expected to argue that misdemeanor counts should be upgraded to felonies because of the protracted suffering that the five pit bulls experienced while dying of thirst and starvation. Four of the pit bulls died apparently within sight of donated bags of dog food, which could have saved them.
“Defending dogs on death row”
Page’s Facebook site states that a focus of his animal law practice “is defending dogs on death row,” specifically for The Lexus Project, which often represents pit bulls who have attacked humans and/or other animals.
Advocacy on behalf of pit bulls who otherwise would have been euthanized for behavioral reasons is, ironically, why shelters throughout Connecticut and other nearby states repeatedly transferred dogs to Heidi Lueders and Bully Breed Rescue.
Reported Alter after Lueders’ arraignment for domestic violence, “The police report says officers arrived [at the scene of her arrest for domestic violence] and found a family member holding Lueders down to prevent her from attacking other family members. Officials say the family told police Lueders was ‘intoxicated’ and ‘out of control.’ A family member also said she threatened to shoot them if the police were called.
“Another family member had scratches on his body and his clothing was torn, according to the report.”
Lueders’ mother opposed gun control
The threat to shoot family members was ironic in view that Heidi Lueders’ mother, Peggy Anderson Lueders, spoke against gun control after Adam Lanza, 20, on December 14, 2012 shot his mother to death in their Newtown, Connecticut home, then shot 20 six-and-seven-year-olds and six adult faculty to death at the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“I like my second amendment rights,” Peggy Anderson Lueders posted to the New Canaan Daily Voice Facebook page on April 3, 2013. “Changing the laws,” for example to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people and people facing or convicted of criminal charges, as members of the Connecticut legislature were trying to do, “is not going to help. If someone wants to do this again, it will happen. It’s not going to change a thing.”
Continued Alter, Lueders “had been the president of the now-dissolved Bully Breed Rescue,” while her mother had been a board member since 2013, “and [Heidi Lueders’] arrest sparked outrage in the community and beyond,” continued Alter.
“Lueders’ attorney argued that Lueders had been the victim of death threats due to her previous arrest and that additional publicity might add to it. Her bond was set at $10,000. Family members were seen in court, but it does not appear they bonded her out.”
The dead pit bulls were discovered by police on November 11, 2018.
Animals R Family, a Facebook entity which has often appeared to have detailed knowledge of incidents and events involving Heidi Lueders and Bully Breed Rescue ahead of news media, described the scene as “an ocean of garbage, junk, heroin packs, needles, trash, dog feces and dog urine everywhere.”
Instead of surrendering to police immediately after the cruelty and property damage charges were filed, Lueders according to Animals R Family “checked herself into Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan,” described as “a very expensive drug addiction and psychiatric hospital, used by celebrities including Catherine Zeta Jones, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and Billy Joel.”
Lueders apparently remained there, her family believed to have been paying the bills, until January 15 2019. Fairfield Police Captain Robert Kalamaras told media the following morning that she had voluntarily turned herself in, and had been released after posting bond of $50,000.
Elaborated Mike Dinan of NewCanaanite.com of the most recent Lueders incident, “It isn’t clear what the dispute involved, how it turned physical, what was the extent of the victim’s injuries, or how the two parties are related—police withheld details, characterizing the incident as a domestic matter.”
However, Dinan said, “A person is guilty of third-degree assault, according to state law, when ‘with intent to cause physical injury to another person, he causes such injury to such person or to a third person’ or ‘recklessly causes serious physical injury to another person’ or ‘with criminal negligence, he causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon, a dangerous instrument or an electronic defense weapon.’”
Posted Animals R Family, “Heidi Lueders was arrested last night for assaulting family members. Heidi threatened to SHOOT anyone who called the police. Heidi was arrested at her parents’ home in New Canaan. Heidi’s family have long covered up for her and enabled her, so maybe now they realize what a danger she is. Heidi has already been arrested twice in the past for assaulting humans. Heidi is a danger to animals. Heidi is a danger to humans. Heidi is a danger to society. Heidi belongs behind bars for a very long time.”
Lueders in April 2015 was reportedly charged in Stamford, Connecticut for disorderly conduct and criminal mischief for her part in a fight with the ex-wife of her then-boyfriend, Eric Stahl, then 38. Stahl, who had at least two prior arrests for comparable alleged offenses, was charged with criminal mischief, conspiracy to commit strangulation and breach of peace.
Lueders admitted to puncturing two tires with a pocket knife in the incident precipitating the fight, according to the arrest affidavit.
In August 2015, wrote New Canaan News reporter Martin B. Cassidy, Lueders “was charged with third-degree assault, disorderly conduct and second-degree reckless endangerment, and Melanie Numa, 19,” a Norwalk veterinary technician, “was charged with disorderly conduct, according to New Canaan Police Lieutenant Jason Ferraro.
Heidi Lueders’ pit bull attacked woman
“Police were called by Lueders and Numa,” Cassidy explained, “who reported being assaulted and robbed,” but “After [police] investigating, it was determined that Lueders and Numa were the aggressors, confronting the victim about money that was owed, Ferraro said.
Continued Cassidy, “During the incident Numa attacked the woman, Ferraro said. When the woman’s 25-year-old boyfriend came to her defense, Lueders allegedly grabbed him by the neck with both hands, Ferraro said. “At some point, a 70-pound pit bull owned by Lueders was let out of a car and bit the 22-year-old Norwalk woman’s leg, Ferraro said. The boyfriend of the woman gave Lueders and Numa the $100, Ferraro said.”