Niagara County prosecutors say they’re reviewing the fees leveled at a Falls man who’s accused of killing his three pet canine in what animal welfare advocates have known as a “brutal act of animal cruelty.”
Investigators with the SPCA of Niagara initially requested arrest warrants charging Richard “Richie” C. Russell, 50, of the Falls, with three felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, for the capturing—at level clean vary—of his three canine. The capturing came about at a location in Burt, a hamlet within the City of Newfane, on the morning of Jan. 5.
The canine, two beagle mixes named Lucy Lou and Moo and a pit bull-type, named Princess, had been every reportedly shot within the head by Russell.
“We’re reviewing the case,” Niagara County District Legal professional Brian Seaman stated. “We’re going to work out a solution to lay the right prices and prosecute this case accordingly.”
Seaman stated his workplace believes the right prices within the case could also be misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.
Below New York’s Agriculture and Markets Regulation, a felony cost of aggravated cruelty to animals requires that particular person “with no justifiable goal, deliberately kills or deliberately causes critical bodily damage to a companion animal with aggravated cruelty.” The regulation additional defines “aggravated cruelty” as “conduct which is meant to trigger excessive bodily ache or is finished or carried out in an particularly wicked or sadistic method.”
Prosecutors stated the cost is historically utilized in animal torture circumstances and stated the capturing of Russell’s canine, within the head with a rifle, might not meet that authorized commonplace.
“We do not make the legal guidelines, and we frequently discover that individuals really feel that the legal guidelines which might be on the books do not adequately tackle a scenario,” Seaman stated. “However we have now to implement the regulation as it’s.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, SPCA of Niagara Government Director Amy Lewis stated her company was consulting with prosecutors and was hopeful extra forensic proof may construct a extra critical case towards Russell.
“We now have found some extra proof,” Lewis stated, “so we’re not counting a felony out for one of many three (canine).”
SPCA officers stated they obtained phrase of the shootings from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Workplace on Jan. 5 and their investigators interviewed witnesses to the shootings. On Jan. 6, the SPCA investigators had been joined by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Workplace Crime Scene Unit and had been capable of finding the burial website and exhumed all three canine.
The investigators additionally retrieved shell casings that had been discovered on the capturing scene.
The our bodies of the three canine had been taken again to the SPCA’s Lockport Highway shelter for an examination and X-rays. The SPCA says all three canine had been shot with a 22-caliber rifle and medical personnel eliminated bullet fragments from the jaw of one of many canine.
Investigators stated they’ve recovered the rifle they imagine was used within the capturing and it was “taken into proof.” Additionally they stated that they’re doing extra forensic testing on the our bodies of the canine.
Lewis stated that their investigation confirmed that Russell, his spouse, their three canine, a cat, two turtles and two fish had been evicted from their Whitney Avenue condo within the Falls on the morning of Jan. 3. The cat, turtles and fish had been left behind within the condo, however the couple took the canine.
In line with investigators, the couple and the canine went to stick with a relative in Burt, however the Russell’s had been unable to search out anybody to shelter the canine. Witnesses stated Russell then turned a rifle on his pets from him.
“They did not have anybody to take the canine, so he shot them,” Lewis stated. “I simply cannot think about how somebody can do this. Nobody contacted our group (to shelter the pets). The canine did not should be taken out again and shot.”
After killing the canine, investigators imagine that Russell and his spouse had been “dropped off at a bus station in Buffalo. SPCA investigators retrieved the cat, turtles and fish that had been left behind within the Whitney Avenue condo over the weekend.
Investigators stated that they imagine that Russell could also be staying with a relative in North Carolina they usually imagine he’s conscious that arrest warrants have been issued for him.