Case Snapshot
Case ID: 15547
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Defense(s): Michael Mulcahy

For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.

Friday, Feb 13, 2009

County: Kent

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Norman M. Furtado

A 69-year old man pleaded no contest to mistreating animals Monday [June 8, 2009] in Kent County District Court.

Norman M. Furtado was accused of allowing his 19-year-old dog to die of hypothermia in February, by leaving it outside his business on a cold day.

As a part of the plea deal, the case will remain on record for one year, and can be expunged if Furtado does not have any other cases in the next year. Furtado also has to pay a $500 contribution to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and court costs.

"There's substantial evidence that the dog didn't freeze to death," defense attorney Michael Mulcahy told the court, suggesting that a dog of that age could have died of heart or kidney failure and that medical officials did not perform a complete necropsy.

RISPCA Director Dr. E.J. Finocchio, who performed the necropsy, said the dog was in very good physical condition for its age.

"There was nothing that made me feel there was an underlying medical condition that contributed to the animal's death except neglect and hypothermia," he said.

According to Finocchio, a newspaper carrier who befriended the dog at Furtado's business, Greenwood Nursery on Post Road, noticed it was unresponsive when he approached to deliver the paper one morning and notified authorities. Finnochio said Furtado told the police that he normally moved the dog inside to a better shelter on cold days, on this day, the dog responded angrily to Furtado, so he left the dog outside.

"Loretta and Norman took very good care of this dog," Mulcahy said. "He was well cared for, well fed, he had proper food, water and shelter. ... We feel the charges were brought against him unjustly."

Mulcahy would not comment on why Furtado did not go forward with a trial. Furtado asked for the dog back, after the proceedings, in order to give it a proper burial.


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