Pittsfield man who used dog as weapon gets up to 4 years in prison


PITTSFIELD -- A city man who police say used his dog as a weapon during a robbery last fall was sentenced on Friday to serve up to four years in state prison.

Joshua D. Desnoyers, 22, of Cloverdale Street, approached two men at Wahconah Park on Sept. 27 and robbed one of them by siccing his dog on him in order to get the man's backpack, according to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office.

Desnoyers, whose face was partially covered by a bandana, punched the first man before "turning his attention" to the other, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Gregory Berry said. He told one man to give him his backpack and when he refused Desnoyers ordered his dog to attack, the prosecutor said.

While the victim was on the ground being bitten by the dog, Desnoyers kicked him several times before fleeing, dog in tow, with the man's backpack containing a laptop, $33 in cash and other items, Berry said.

When approached by police, Desnoyers dropped the bag and ran, but was cornered a short time later and taken into custody at gunpoint.

The bite victim, 30, suffered puncture wounds to his right arm and left hand, along with cuts and abrasions to his face. He was treated at Berkshire Medical Center and later released. The other man, 22, sought medical treatment on his own and was also released.

Berry said the two victims knew of Desnoyers, but that they were not friends.

Desnoyers agreed to the general facts of what happened but told the court he had been "really good friends" with the man he punched and was an acquaintance of the man he robbed.

The victims were not in court Friday.

The defendant told the court he has been diagnosed with "everything under the sun," including a form of autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

He pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Friday to six charges -- single counts of armed robbery and resisting arrest and two counts each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

Judge John A. Agostini sentenced him to serve at least three years and no more than four years in state prison. The sentence followed a joint recommendation between the DA's Office and Desnoyer's attorney, Joshua C. Hochberg.

Originally charged with armed and masked robbery, which carries a minimum mandatory 15 years in prison, Desnoyers had that charge reduced to armed robbery as part of the plea deal.

He was credited with 159 days he had served in jail awaiting the outcome of the case and unable to make his $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail.

The dog, Ozzie, an American Staffordshire Terrier, was taken to the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter as evidence in the case and was held for a state mandated 10-day rabies protocol. The dog had its life spared by the Animal Control Commission in November because Ozzie hadn't exhibited any aggressive tendencies after being taken away from Desnoyers, according to Eagle records.

A staff member at the shelter said on Friday that Ozzie was taken by a dog rescue organization and will likely be fostered before finding a permanent home.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:


or (413) 496-6249.

On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions