Leslie Yager.Written by
Wednesday morning at 2:41a.m. an alert police officer patrolling Westport Ave. in Norwalk heard loud banging noises coming from the area of Puppies of Westport, a retail pet store located at 255 Westport Ave., according to Lt. Resnick of Norwalk Police.
According to Resnick, officer Castaldi investigated the source of the noise and discovered a woman, later identified as Anouk Govil, 23, of 16 Eastwood Rd, at the front doors of the pet shop. Upon seeing the officer, Ms. Govil ran off and attempted to hide behind a sign in front of the Y&S Laundromat, an adjacent business at 259 Westport Ave..
When the officer confronted Govil, she had a rock or chunk of concrete in her hand. The officer ordered her to drop the rock, to which she immediately complied. When asked what she was doing she told the officer that she “was trying to set the puppies free.”
Govil was handcuffed and seated in the rear of the police cruiser. The officer then returned to the front doors of Puppies of Westport and found that the front glass doors were damaged after having been struck by Ms. Govil and her rock. Ms. Govil never made entry into the store.
Officers transported Ms. Govil to Norwalk Police Headquarters where it was discovered that she had a small laceration on her right hand. A Norwalk EMS ambulance responded to headquarters and treated the laceration, according to Lt. Resnick, Govil refused transportation to Norwalk Hospital.
Govil was charged with one count of Criminal Mischief 3rd degree, CGS 53a-117, a class B misdemeanor. Bond was set at $500 and a court date of Jan. 21 was issued for the Norwalk Superior Court. Govil was released on bond at 6:00a.m. to a family member.
Reached by phone Monty Kaufman, who owns Puppies of Westport with his wife Lauren, said he and his wife are very upset after the incident.
"We didn't pick it up on our video surveillance, which is inside the store. But we were able to hear it. She hit the door over 100 times. A couple of times she started going crazy, going bang bang bang bang bang. She wanted in in the worst way," Kaufman said.
"When we got the call at 2:00am, I assumed someone was stealing a dog. I'm glad at least you know that person wouldn't kill it," Kaufman continued. "But, if we had any clue that the person trying to break in might release dogs into the street... If that had happened, reporters wouldn't be talking to us because we'd be in an asylum somewhere."
Puppies of Westport has been the target of protesters who oppose commercial breeders, often referred to by animal welfare advocates as "puppy mills." The breeders, who supply pet stores like Puppies of Westport are mostly located in the midwest.
Reached by phone, a representative from Westport Coalition Against Puppy Mills, which has protested Puppies of Westport in the past, declined to comment on the incident.