Bennington Man Facing Charges of Cruelty to Dogs, Cats
Posted on Aug 28, 2007 - 1:22 PM
MIKE GLEASON, Staff Writer
Article Launched:08/28/2007 03:05:18 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 28
BENNINGTON — A Bennington man was arraigned Monday for charges stemming from alleged mistreatment of three dogs and 10 cats.
Michael Rinaldo, 52, of North Branch Street pleaded not guilty to 10 charges of cruelty to animals.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Anthony Silvestro, police responded to a dispute at Rinaldo's residence on June 29. Rinaldo, the complainant, said that his landlord had been vandalizing the locks to his residence.
Silvestro said he heard several dogs barking in the trailer, and asked Rinaldo about it. Rinaldo told Silvestro that he has three dogs and 10 cats. Rinaldo reportedly also said that he had no running water or electricity inside.
Silvestro said he asked Rinaldo to open the door to the residence. Silvestro said, once Rinaldo did, he could smell a strong odor of urine and feces. The odor caused Silvestro to gag and his eyes to tear.
According to Silvestro, the home had parts of the floor missing. He said he saw empty water and food bowls. Silvestro said the dogs themselves emitted a very strong odor of urine and feces. According to the affidavit, the dogs were missing large patches of fur. One of them was reportedly itching itself, and crying as it did. Silvestro said he noticed dry blood where the dog had been itching itself.
Silvestro said another dog had a very large tumor on its stomach that hung to the floor as it walked.
Silvestro also said there was one litter box for the 10 cats. The room where the animals were kept was allegedly very hot and lacked ventilation.
Rinaldo reportedly said that the dogs had fleas and probably ticks.
Silvestro said he met with an investigator from the Second Chance Animal Shelter on July 12. She reportedly told him that she had gone to the residence because one of the dogs had died. The investigator said the dog had chewed on an exposed wire and was electrocuted. According to the investigator, the trailer had rats that chewed on the wire and caused the wire to be exposed.
According to Silvestro, the animals were seized on July 30. Rinaldo reportedly became agitated and was placed in restraints. Silvestro said two dogs were removed as well as seven cats, one of which was deceased.
Silvestro said he asked Rinaldo why he did not seek medical treatment for the animals, and Rinaldo allegedly said that it was a waste of money. Rinaldo reportedly said the dogs only had fleas and ticks. Silvestro said he pointed out to Rinaldo that one of the dogs had a tumor the size of a softball.
According to Silvestro, there were cat feces all over the shelves, tabletops and furniture of the residence.
Silvestro said Rinaldo had called him since the seizure, claiming that police had signed his death warrant, as the cats would no longer be able to keep the trailer's rats in check.