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Marlborough man charged with animal cruelty to go to trial

  • court/crime Jason Morrison



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, September 10, 2018 4:22PM

A court trial against a Marlborough man accused of animal cruelty, after 52 dogs and one cat were taken from his property, is set to begin on Friday in Keene.

John Riggieri, 58, has been charged with ten misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals, according to court documents filed at the Keene District Court.

The animals were taken from 38 Shaker Farm Road South on July 10, according to an affidavit submitted by Lt. Caleb Dodson of the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 20.

Dodson said he found many dogs running around the property upon his arrival to evict Riggieri from the property, and that the property smelled of dog excrement and urine. The odor grew stronger as he approached the residence.

Dodson observed loose dogs eating from a line of dog food, approximately five feet long, on the gravel driveway. Some dogs were growling at other dogs, not letting them eat.

A number of the dogs running outside had visible wounds, Dodson wrote, including some with open wounds.

As Riggieri did not have a place to store the dogs, they were taken away by the Monadnock Humane Society. Each dog was caught, with Riggieri marking each dog on the inner ear with a letter. Each dog’s name was placed on the kennel it was put into.

In total, there were 33 adult dogs and 19 puppies taken from the property. One litter of puppies was allegedly covered in urine and feces and found kept in a bathtub.

After Riggieri and the Humane Society left, Dodson went inside the residence. His affidavit said the interior of the building was covered in feces, urine, and dirt, and that furniture inside the house had been destroyed.

Riggieri was arrested on Aug. 3 and released on $2,500 personal recognizance. He pleaded not guilty at his Aug. 7 arraignment.

Complaints on file say Riggieri failed to provide adequate care to the animals, with some saying he subjected the dogs to “unnecessary suffering.”

On Aug. 20, Riggieri submitted a written statement to the court in which he requested the United States District Court take on his case, saying the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office unlawfully entered his residence and wrongfully took possession of his property.

The sheriffs entered his property without a warrant or other cause and violated his Fourth, Fifth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, Riggieri wrote. He added he only helped in the removal of his pets to ease their comfort levels. Otherwise, Riggieri’s help in removing the pets was involuntary, he wrote.

Riggieri also requested he be placed under the protection of the U.S. Marshals as he has received multiple threats and said he no longer feels safe.

Riggieri specifically referred to a text message he had received that told him he should “change course quickly” because he will “stand alone” after people learn the full story and see the photos taken of his home by the sheriffs.

His trial is set to begin in the Keene district court at 10 a.m. on Friday.

Influx of dogs from alleged neglect case puts pressure on Humane Society