NEW BRITAIN---A shocking case of animal abuse is suspected, and the owner of four dogs is facing serious charges.
Laura Sataline, 53, of New Britain, was arrested and her four pit bulls were seized after allegations surfaced she couldn't control the animals, who at times were fighting to the death and killing cats.
Sataline turned herself into police and faces two separate arrest warrants, charging her with multiple animal cruelty charges and two counts of violating an animal restraining order.
Police had received numerous complaints about dogs at Sataline's home since 2011.
Recently, Sataline, a door-to-door vacuum saleswoman, was visiting a relative's home with two of her pit bulls when both attacked and killed her relative's cat.
"It was apparent based on her stature of the dogs and the stature of the dogs that she just wasn't able to control them," said New Britain Police Captain Thomas Steck.
According to police, those relatives told investigators that Sataline locked two of her pit bulls in a room and let them fight until one of them had died.
She came under more scrutiny when in March 2014, when West Hartford Police were called and an injured pit bull was found in a car outside Westfarms Mall. The dog, Lucy, had several lacerations that Sataline said occurred when she was fighting with other pit bulls in her home, according to police.
Later in November 2014, a neighbor complained that four of Sataline's pit bulls were fighting a fifth in her yard, injuring one of them.
According to Police, the injured dog was "Lucy," who Sataline decided to euthanize. At that time, an animal restraining order was already in place, requiring her dogs be kept muzzled, leashed and at her home.
"It clearly was having a negative impact on quality of life of the folks that live there," said Steck.
Doug Burns lives two doors down from Sataline's home and has known her since she moved into the neighborhood 15 years ago. He suspects Sataline became overwhelmed for caring for all her dogs, but says her son used to live at the home and help take care of the dogs.
"If this happened that's a really a tragedy. I know they're animal lovers, I know they are good people," Said Burns.
Police say the dogs are aggressive toward animals, but not humans.
Ben Garson is a canine behavioral consultant and part-owner of Dogology in Canton. Garson has two pit bulls of his own.
"They tend to be a little more difficult, require a little more, and you need to be more training and fulfilling them, and if you're not, sometimes they can get out of control," Garson said.
Sataline will appear in superior court in New Britain to face the criminal charges. A civil hearing will be held to determine what happens to the pit bulls, which are now at the city's animal control facility in good condition but with scars they likely had from fighting, according to police.