Dogs rescued from Sherman house fire in 'very tough shape,' Identity of body not yet released

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

SHERMAN — Officials are looking to find homes for the 19 dogs removed from the Route 55 West property where a person was killed Sunday in a house fire.

The identity of the body found at the home has not yet been released, but an autopsy was expected to be completed by the state medical examiner’s office Tuesday, Sherman Fire Marshal David Lathrop said. He planned to hold a press conference afterward.

The state medical examiner’s office could not confirm the body’s identity on Tuesday afternoon.

The 19 dogs on the site were seized by the state of Connecticut.

“The dogs have all been rescued and are in the possession of regional animal control, as well as state animal control. They were not harmed in the fire,” Sherman First Selectman Don Lowe said.

Curtis Read, Bridgewater first selectman, who is chairman of Regional Animal Control, which serves Brookfield, Bridgewater, Sherman, Roxbury and New Milford, said the dogs were in “very tough shape.”

“It’s one of the worst possible events that could happen for dogs and animal control officers to deal with,” Read said. “It’s a tragic scene of long-term abuse.”

He added a lot of the dogs “were starving and hungry” and “very skinny.”

“The dogs were tied up outside all over the yard and under stuff and it was a real terrible situation for the animals,” he said.

The dogs are now spread out among four area shelters including Southbury, Oxford and Bridgewater.

“The shelters have responded to this tragic fire and they parceled them out to take better care of them and not burden anyone’s shelter with all of them,” Read said.

He said he hopes the animals will get rescued, taken care of and have their health checked.

“Hopefully, they’ll go through animal welfare and other places and get adopted,” he said.

Three individuals who were on the property of the fire are now living in a trailer on the site, Lathrop said.

The trailer was already set up on the property prior to the fire, he added.

“None of the individuals living on the property are related to the property owner whatsoever,” he added. “One was living in the trailer and the other two were living in the house with the property owner.”

One occupant of the home is listed as Richard Genalski, 76. According to court records, Genalski had an arrest record. In 2013, he was found guilty of cruelty to animals and sentenced to six months in jail with a conditional discharge of one year.