Judge orders therapy for Kopulos in Weston animal hoarding case

Daniel Kopulos

Daniel Kopulos

The court has ordered a man at the center of an animal hoarding case in Weston to get regular therapy and psychiatric treatment.  

Daniel Kopulos was arrested last October after more than 200 exotic birds, snakes and reptiles were found dead or in poor condition at his home on Newtown Turnpike in Weston.

He was charged with animal cruelty which is punishable by one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.

However, in Norwalk Superior Court yesterday, Judge Bruce Hudock told Kopulos he must attend weekly therapy sessions and meet with a psychiatrist every month. If he does that for two years and avoids arrest during that time, the charges will be dismissed.   

Kopulos’s attorney, Michael Fitzpatrick, explained that his client had devoted his life to animals, and after losing his lease on his pet shop business, moved his animals into his home, where they were initially well-cared for.

He said Kopulos then suffered “a number of traumatic life experiences, and deterioration in judgment and self care and rational thinking. It is understandable why he would enter a state of depression,” he said.

A psychiatric evaluation of Kopulos was turned over to the court and judge.

Weston police had initially been called to Kopulos’s home on Sept. 15 to investigate a report by a neighbor of a “bad odor” coming from the house. Police found cages and sacks of dead and dying birds and snakes in the home and an outbuilding on the property. The house had no running water and was condemned by the health department.

Officials called it one of the worst cases of “animal hoarding” they had ever seen.

The surviving birds and reptiles were brought to a local veterinarian and animal rescue groups for treatment and care.

Before his arrest, Kopulos was the executive director of Animal Preservation Alliance and the founder of Fauna, an upscale New York City pet store.

A 2011 story by the New York Times, titled A Menagerie Where Pets Do the Staring, called Kopulos a “soft-spoken bird whisperer.”

Weston Animal Control Officer Mark Harper said Kopulos has made restitution to the town of Weston for money the town paid for the care of the birds recovered from the home.

Look for more details of this story in next week’s issue of the Weston Forum.

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