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Friday, Jun 7, 2013County: Ulster
Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony CTA
Alleged: David Delisio
An Olivebridge man with a previous record of animal cruelty has been charged with a felony and dozens of misdemeanors in connection with a barn fire that killed 21 dogs.
After the Olive Fire Department extinguished the blaze Friday afternoon in a barn at 82 Mill Road, firefighters found the remains of 22 dogs, according to the Humane Law Division of the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
All but one of the dogs were piled in the center of the room, the only space that appeared to be free of fecal matter, garbage, insulation and old mattresses, the SPCA said.
"They all died huddled together," Adam Saunders, the agency's animal welfare director and humane law investigator, said on Saturday.
Saunders said the dogs that died were golden retrievers, Labradors and Dobermans, all roughly 1 to 2 years old.
One deceased dog was found separate from the others, and it appeared to have died several weeks earlier in a fight, the SPCA said.
Examination of the dogs' remains by a veterinarian led to the conclusion that 21 of them died of smoke inhalation, the agency said.
Olive Fire Chief Chris Winnie could not be reached on Saturday regarding the cause of the fire.
The owner of the property, David Delisio, was charged with 22 counts of failure to provide proper sustenance and 22 counts of failure to provide food and drink to confined animals, all misdemeanors, and a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals. Each count is punishable by up to a year in jail.
Saunders said Delisio arrived at the scene during the fire and was taken into custody.
Delisio was arraigned in Olive Town Court by Justice Ronald Wright and sent to Ulster County Jail, the SPCA said. He later was released on $5,000 bail, a jail officer said on Saturday.
According to the Freeman's archives, Delisio pleaded guilty in September 2009 to 18 counts of animal cruelty for keeping more than a dozen dogs crammed into a small room in a barn on the Mill Road property.
Wright adjourned that case in contemplation of dismissal, meaning the charges against Delisio were to be dismissed six months later unless he got arrested again.
Saunders on Saturday said Delision "got off easy" in the 2009 case. Wright, reached by phone later, declined to comment.
The 2009 case stemmed from 18 dogs, including six puppies, being seized from Delisio's property on April 8 of that year, according to the Freeman's archives.
The SPCA's then-executive director, Brian Shapiro, said at the time that the dogs were "crammed into a very, very small room in a barn," living in "layers and layers of filth."
Shapiro said after Delisio's guilty plea in 2009 that Delision was being cooperative and that problems that led the SPCA to seize the dogs had been rectified.
"We're optimistic that things will work out in the end," he said.
- Daily Freeman - June 9, 2013
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