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Glassport man pleads guity to cruelty

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 2:06 a.m.

A man accused of neglecting animals at a Glassport home has pleaded guilty to five summary counts of cruelty and ordered to clean up his property.

Anthony Territo, 40, has 60 days to comply before returning to court to answer for code violations issued by the borough because of filthy conditions at 502 Marie St.

The borough condemned the property on July 28 when authorities found three dogs, two rabbits and a dead lizard at the home while responding to a complaint about a dog running loose. Investigators said the floors were soaked in urine and feces.

Five misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and one misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment of another person were dismissed at Territo's hearing before Glassport Magisterial District Judge Armand Martin on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Bryan Hanlon told the judge he would have preferred that the case go to Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas but said the condition of the animals did not warrant the misdemeanor charges.

The dogs were removed last month by Glassport animal control officer Ken Ferree. Ferree, who was not at the hearing, had described the dogs' behavior as anti-social but said they were not underfed, emaciated or losing hair, which are traits commonly associated with neglect.

Ferree released the dogs when Territo paid the fines.

Territo was ordered to pay $150 for each guilty plea, and $477 in court costs. Martin warned Territo, “If you don't pay these fines, you're going to do some jail time.”

Territo could have been ordered to pay up to $300 per charge. His attorney, Chuck LoPresti told the court that Territo was in a bad financial position because he wasn't working steadily.

Outside the courtroom, Territo said he was unjustly charged.

“Anybody who knows me knows it wasn't true,” said Territo. “My dogs were not abandoned.”

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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