A Pittsburgh animal control officer dragged a dog so violently on a catch pole through a parking garage on Thursday that one witness stated it appeared the officer had been “mopping the floor” with the dog.
According to WtaeNews, James Genco III, 46, has been charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty along with two summary charges of animal cruelty. A report stated the dogs were in distress “with the windows up and no food or water.” Officers broke the windows of the SUV to remove the dogs – one of the dogs was so upset, he reportedly went out of control.
The incident occurred on March 17 in the Strip District when Genco and other officers responded to a report of dogs left unattended in a car. Temperatures that day registered in the 50s. The two officers removed the dogs from the vehicle and took them to the Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh. Security video from the parking garage showed Genco forcing the dog to the ground, dragging him and leaving a trail of blood.
One part of the video showed Genco pushing the catch pole into the back of the truck before he could get the loop around the dog’s neck. He then pulled the dog out of the truck and pushed the defenseless animal against the door and a brick wall.
Another angle of the video showed Genco dragging the dog as the animal struggled and flattened himself on the ground. A witness told authorities he heard a dog yelping loudly and entered the garage to see Genco dragging the dog leaving “a trail of what appeared to be blood, urine and feces.”
The dog was taken to an emergency veterinarian where his injuries were documented. Besides the obvious outward injuries the dog suffered, lameness in the right front and right hind legs were noted, broken teeth as well as ruptured blood vessels indicative of strangulation.
Genco’s attorney contends his client saved the dog’s life, and at no point did Genco intend to harm the dog stating the injuries to the dog were both self-inflicted or pre-existing. The owner of the dogs said his dogs were both in good health prior to the incident.
Public Safety officials said the officer has been on paid administrative leave since April.