Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today announced that Nicola Patalano, age 60, of Cranston, was sentenced today by Superior Court Justice Sarah Taft-Carter to the maximum penalty for the November 2014 beating and killing of his neighbor's Yorkie breed named Missy. Patalano received a sentence of two years – the maximum allowed by law at the time of the killing – of which he was ordered to serve four months at the Adult Correctional Institution, eight months on home confinement, and the remainder suspended with probation. In addition, Patalano was ordered to have no contact with the owner of the deceased dog, make a $500 donation to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, take anger management classes, and perform 100 hours of community service.
Patalano was found guilty by a Providence County Superior Court on November 1, 2016.
During the course of the trial, the State proved that Nicola Patalano beat and killed his neighbor's ten pound Yorkie, named Missy. On November 21, 2014 at approximately 1:30 p.m., Dolores Antonelli was walking Missy near her apartment complex on Western Hills Lane in Cranston. As she was walking towards the parking lot of the apartment complex Dolores saw her neighbor, Nicola Patalano, walking his dog, a medium-sized terrier weighing approximately 20 pounds. When Missy spotted Patalano and his dog, she ran towards them jerking the leash from Dolores' hand. The two dogs began barking at one another although never made physical contact.
Patalano struck Missy multiple times with his wooden cane on her head and body, as Dolores screamed for him to stop. The blows knocked Missy unconscious and unresponsive. During the trial a neighbor testified to witnessing the defendant striking Missy. After the incident the neighbor accompanied Dolores to the vet, where Missy was pronounced dead on arrival.
When interviewed by Cranston Police Officer Wayne Russell and Animal Control Officer Patricia Maxwell, Patalano admitted to striking Missy several times and stated, "I hit the dog to kill it."
"The purposeful beating and killing of a defenseless and helpless animal is a deplorable act," said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin who last year successfully advocated for increased penalties for animal abuse. "We have seen a steady increase in cases of animal abuse, in large part because of increased reporting and increased enforcement by police. What was once not often recognized as a crime is now being seen for what it is – an act of violence."
Cranston Police Officer Wayne Russell and Animal Control Officer Patricia Maxwell led the investigation and Special Assistant Attorneys General Kimberly Ahern and Jonathan Burke prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.