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.

Click here for related story

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

  • Elise

    I was disappointed with the verdict in this case. I have worked with the rescues that are taking care of the birds and while he has likely paid restitution to the town, the rescue that has been taking care of these hundreds of birds has not received anything. They have also not been able to adopt the birds out while the case is pending. These were breeder birds that he was using for breeding and then selling the babies. It is disgusting that they have twisted this to be a hoarding case (which still should have been punishable by jail time) instead of what it really was – a profit making enterprise for him. It is sad to see justice not served. Apparently the judge presiding over this has a long history of questionable verdicts…..

    • Sherry

      I knew Daniel before this all fell apart. He helped me to create a beautiful custom habitat for a bearded dragon I bought before I met him. In fact, I found his shop because I realized I did not have enough information to keep the dragon well and went looking for help. Daniel and his staff taught me a lot. We spend a lot of time talking over a month. He was very kind, and his shop was immaculate. I am horrified by what happened to the animals under his care. It is a terrible and sad story. I am equally certain that Daniel must have suffered a breakdown and became incapacitated. Thank you to all of the rescuers who are taking care of those animals. Please have a little compassion left over for the human involved.

      • Alison Tomlin

        Haven’t got any compassion for him, sorry – only for the poor souls he brought into this world for profit and then allowed to die slow, painful deaths. I do agree with you, however, that the rescuers should be commended.

        • Sherry

          They are the heroes of this tragedy.

      • WizardMage

        He might have had a breakdown but had he reached out to ANYONE, to ask for help for SO many birds that were tortured, heu2019d have earned sympathy. What we see here is a person who in the face of tragedy, his go-to response was to allow cruelty, pain and death happen to other dependent beings! Had these birds and reptiles been children….everyone would see him and his u201ckindnessu201d in a different light!!

  • Alison Tomlin

    The financial burden of caring for these birds is enormous, and the rescue that has housed 100+ of them since September has received nothing. This ruling is an insult to the dedicated volunteers there and to the many animals that suffered and died at the hands of this monster. A slap on the wrist…. I’m truly disgusted. Again.

    • WizardMage

      I agree! If only those decision makers could replace the faces of the birds (and reptiles) with those of little children. Certainly, many of the birds are widely known to have the intelligence of a 2 yr old!!! To think the u201cmaximumu201d fine is $1000!!!!! Itu2019s sickening! At LEAST it should be $1000 PER animal!!!!! He should have been made to be institutionalized for a few months instead of u201cjailu201d if they deemed him mentally unstable!

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. The Weston Forum, 16 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, CT 06877

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress