Grand jury indicts alleged dog killer

Michael Tortorici in court

SLOAN, N.Y. (WIVB) – A grand jury has indicted a Sloan man who is accused of brutally killing his dog. Prosecutors charged Michael Tortorici with felony animal cruelty, which was upgraded from the original misdemeanor.

Tortorici’s attorney says his client acted in self defense because the dog bit him. Police say what happened is Tortorici began yelling at the dog, “Max,” when Max was found asleep in one of the bedrooms of the home. Police say Tortorici punched, kicked and pulled the dog by the head, and the dog bit Tortorici on the wrist. Tortorici then allegedly beat the dog with a wooden barstool.

Police report a 12-year-old child took the dog outside in the yard where Tortorici then allegedly beat the dog with a 2X4. He then is accused of bringing the dog inside to the basement, where he allegedly shot the dog in the stomach with a shotgun. Officials say the gunshot wound was not immediately fatal and that the dog suffered before he died.

Cheektowaga Police Capt. Jim Speyer said, “He overreacted. Way overreacted. And he ended up basically torturing that dog for awhile before that dog actually died.”

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