Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today announced that Nicola Patalano, age 60, of Cranston was found guilty by a Providence County Superior Court jury of malicious killing of an animal. The jury returned the verdict after one and one-half days of deliberations following a two and one-half day trial presided over by Superior Court Justice Sarah Taft-Carter.
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."
"Recognizing that the abuse of an animal is often symptomatic of violence in individuals, my office has successfully advocated for stiffer sentences for those who maliciously injure or kill animals, such as Missy," said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.
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.