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Schenectady pit bulls ordered euthanized after attack remain alive pending appeal

Schenectady pit bulls ordered euthanized after attack remain alive pending appeal

Dogs ordered destroyed June 17 after mauling 3-year-old girl in May
Schenectady pit bulls ordered euthanized after attack remain alive pending appeal
Photographer: Shutterstock

SCHENECTADY — Three months after a city judge ordered the two pit bulls that mauled a 3-year-old child euthanized, the dogs are alive and remain in a city lockup.

Owner Salvatore DiNovo filed a notice of appeal after Judge Robert Hoffman’s decision on June 17 that the dogs be euthanized, after formally declaring them dangerous. 

“They won’t let me see them,” DiNovo said. “I’m still fighting for them.”

DiNovo appeared in City Court on Wednesday to answer to three criminal charges related to the May 31 attack at a family cookout that left his 3-year-old niece with severe injuries Hoffman described as “protracted physical disfigurement,” including broken bones and a ear that required surgical reattachment.

DiNovo faces two violations of city code related to having a dangerous dog and unlawful behavior, as well as a state Agriculture & Markets violation for having an unlicensed dog.

His motion to dismiss the case was denied Wednesday, and he’s due to appear in City Court on Sept. 24 for a jury trial conference. 

Hoffman said in his decision to have the dogs euthanized that it was clear both animals attacked the child “without justification" and acted in concert to cause serious physical injury. 

DiNovo has six months to perfect his appeal, according to city Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico, which gives him until mid-December.

“My understanding is Mr. DiNovo is still weighing options with respect to an appeal,” said Brendan Keller, an attorney who represented DiNovo during the previous state Ag & Markets hearing. 

The city bills defendants $40 per day for kennel fees. 

“We have to hold [the dogs] until there’s a decision on the appeal,” Falotico said. 

A Daily Gazette reporter asked to see the dogs, but non-employees are barred from accessing the facility. 

Fees are typically paid through the court process, Falotico said. But cases with large amounts of restitution are pursued in other venues, he said. 

“We will pursue payment in other means, usually small claims court,” Falotico said.

The dogs were seized May 31 and have been in custody 105 days as of Thursday, resulting in a $4,200 expense to the city to date. 

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