Case Snapshot
Case ID: 16770
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Attorneys/Judges
Judge(s): Jerry G. Cartwright


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Wednesday, Nov 3, 2010

County: Lawrence

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 3 files available

Alleged: Eric John Squicquero

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A White Township police officer was charged with animal cruelty after a dog was found dead and another near death inside his Ellwood City home.

Police said Eric Squicquero left the dogs home alone, and a family member found them.

The woman, who wished to remain unidentified, said she thought the dogs were being taken care of.

"I have no idea how long they were living like that," the woman said. "I do think he had a horrible death. I thought they were being treated very well."

Squicquero told Channel 11 News that he is going through a bad divorce and that the dogs belonged to his wife. He said she has a key to the home and was supposed to be feeding them.

Animal Control officers said Squicquero told them he didn't have time for the dogs and didn't care what happened to them.

"He never said he did this on purpose," said Animal Control officer Bob Karenbauer.


Case Updates

More than a month after being found in an Ellwood City residence, neglected and near death from malnutrition, Niko is on the mend and looking for a new home.

Niko, a 3-year-old Rottweiler, was rescued Nov. 1 from the home of Eric John Squicquero, 37, of 220 Franklin Ave., Ellwood City. A second dog, a 1-year-old mixed-breed dog named Spencer, had already died from malnutrition.

Squicquero, a White Township police officer, is awaiting trial in Lawrence County Court on animal cruelty charges.

At the time he was taken from the home, Niko weighed 57 pounds, around half his normal weight. Today, he is around 90 pounds.

But that process hasn't been easy or cheap. Veterinarian Dr. Cynthia Maro of Ellwood City Animal Hospital, who has been overseeing Niko's recovery, said medication and a special diet alone cost $20 a day.

Because Niko was in such an advanced state of malnutrition, his digestive system is still unable to process regular dog food, Maro said.

But Maro said Niko is grateful for the care he has received since being rescued " he's become very protective of female staff at the animal hospital where he has been receiving treatment.

"He's nice, he's friendly, and he's nice with other dogs," she said.

With Niko recovering physically, Maro is hoping to find him a permanent home, to help the dog mend emotionally. Because Niko was neglected, Maro said he especially needs socialization and exercise.

Maro said a potential new owner should have experience with Rottweilers and a large fenced-in yard, and be able to feed Niko a special, more expensive, diet, at least until his digestive system recovers from the malnutrition.

She is concerned that at least initially, Niko might be unpredictable around children and that he has a tendency to show aggressiveness toward men, but Maro said she is confident Niko can overcome those issues, which she thinks could be related to the neglect.

Niko, near death, and the body of Spencer were found Nov. 1 by Stephanie Squicquero, Eric Squicquero's estranged wife, in the home's basement.

Stephanie Squicquero took Niko to the animal hospital, where Maro said she began hydrating the dog and feeding him bland food. Maro said Stephanie Squicquero helped save Niko's life and Ellwood City animal control officer Robert Karenbauer was conscientious in helping the dog.

Maro said she's eager to see the tragic tale end happily with Niko's placement in a loving home. More important, though, she hopes the incident serves as a warning.

According to court documents filed in the criminal case, Eric Squicquero said he was unable to care properly for the dogs because of work commitments. Maro said people need to watch out for one another to prevent animals from suffering when their owners face stress.

"When you see a situation, or don't see the dogs out walking around, ask them, 'How are your dogs doing?' " she said.
Source: timesonline.com - Dec 8, 2010
Update posted on Dec 9, 2010 - 9:56AM 

References

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