A man has been arrested after allegedly dumping artificial fertilizer in a koi pond outside a Rhode Island motor lodge owned by a state senator’s wife, killing almost 50 fish.
The incident happened on May 18 at the Stone House Motor Inn. Jeffrey Gronski, who had been a hotel resident at the lodge for six years, was caught by surveillance cameras dumping Miracle-Gro plant food into the fish pond after being told by hotel staff to tidy up outside of the room he had been occupying, according to a report by WCVB.
Heidi Weston Rogers, who has owned the inn since 2008, was dumbfounded by Gronski’s actions and said she would never have expected anything like this to happen.
“He can be stubborn and a little belligerent, but nothing major, nothing that rose to something like this,” Rogers said of Gronski, the New York Post reported.
“He’d been with us for six years. He had started accumulating junk [outside his unit]—signs, tables, and bird feeders, which attract rodents. He was told by our manager he couldn’t have all of this stuff, and the feeders had to come down,” Rogers added in an interview with GoLocal Prov.
Rogers, who is married to Rhode Island State Sen. Gordon Rogers, was alerted by the hotel manager after the incident, who told her that the water in the pond had turned green, with fish floating on the surface.
After the authorities were called, 59-year-old Gronski was arrested and is now facing charges, according to WCVB.
Rogers took to social media to post about the incident, after the fish—18 koi carp and around 30 goldfish—were buried in a freshly dug grave. She added that her grandchildren grew up feeding the fish, some of which were 15 years old.
“Some humans are just evil. We have had our koi pond at the motel for 15 years, and spend countless hours every spring and summer maintaining it,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
“The first photo is just 12 hours before he poisoned our pond and killed every single fish within a few hours. Thousands of dollars worth of fish and my grandchildren’s priceless memories,” she wrote.
According to Rogers, Gronski was kicked out of the hotel immediately after his malicious act was uncovered. Authorities confiscated Gronski’s chihuahua due to the charges brought against him.
“He had to surrender his best friend, his little Chihuahua, that we allowed to live with him in his room. He is now homeless. All because he didn’t want to clean up his stuff on the walkway. Animal cruelty is a felony and comes with many consequences,” Rogers wrote.
Rogers said she hopes Gronski is found guilty.
“I hope he’s held accountable because that was heartless, it was cruel and it was malicious and intentional,” she said. “Some people may say they’re just fish, it’s not like a cat or a dog, but they were like our pets.”
Gronski has been charged with at least 37 counts of malicious injury or killing of animals. According to officials, he was arraigned and reportedly released on personal recognizance. He is due to appear back in court on Aug. 17, the Boston Globe reported.