BRISTOL -- A Bristol woman appeared in Superior Court Tuesday, accused of killing her two dogs back in November. Veronica Reyes, 22, was seen hanging one of her dogs from a tree in her front yard and burying it in her backyard. She told police she felt like her two Staffordshire Terriers were telling her to hang them.
In court Tuesday, Assistant States Attorney, Jeffrey Lee, asked the judge to increase Reyes' bail from $10,000 to $250,000 and described the gruesome act. Reyes' public defender said a combination of medication and illegal substances caused Reyes to act the way she did.
It all started on November 21, Kevin Beech, who owns the home Reyes was renting, received a call from a neighbor telling him Reyes killed her black and white pit bull by hanging it up in the front yard.
The neighbor, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke to FOX 61 about what she witnessed.
"She was acting kind of weird, and what she was doing was looking from the driveway down to where the dog was to see if it was dead or not."
Police were a missing person report on November 23 when the neighbor told officers what she saw earlier in the day, including Reyes dragging the dog's body to the backyard where police found two dogs buried.
"They had to go and dig," said the neighbor. "I'm telling you this girl was strong because she buried both dogs and it took that guy awhile to unbury them."
In December, Reyes turned herself into the Bristol Police Department. In her statement, she told police she was out with friends in Waterbury and smoked marijuana, which she thinks may have been laced with another drug. She claimed she was also taking painkillers and prescribed antibiotics as a result of the recent dental procedure.
She said the next morning, she began to hallucinate. She said she felt like the walls of the home were talking to her, though she couldn't remember what they were saying.
Reyes also said she remembered looking at her two dogs in their cage and felt like they were talking to her. Reyes told police she said to the dogs "you want me to hang you?" And when they became excited and hyper she took that to mean "yes."
The police report says Reyes later changed her story, explaining that she killed the dogs because she is feeling a lot of stress in her life. She further explained that she recently went through a relationship break up and was depressed.
Reyes was arrested on Friday and charged with two counts of animal cruelty. An online petition with over 10,000 signatures has been posted urging the judge to give her mandatory jail time. And, Connecticut lawmakers are expecting to resurrect a concept in the upcoming legislative session that would propose a bill to create an animal abuse registry identifying the abuser with a photo and information. First-time offenders would stay on the registry for five years and repeat offenders would appear for 10 years.
The judge set Reyes bond at $75,000 and ordered her to appear in court again on January 27. If convicted, Reyes faces five years in prison and a $5,000 for each of the two counts.
Reyes is also a fugitive from justice in Maryland, where there are warrants out for her arrest charging her with stealing a car and assaulting a police officer. Maryland authorities say they hope to extradite her for those charges.