Savoy man denies cruelty to 31 cats living in hazardous conditions


NORTH ADAMS -- A Savoy man accused of raising dozens of kittens in hazardous conditions is free after denying multiple felony counts of animal cruelty and other charges.

John F. D’Alessandro, of Griffin Hill Road, allegedly was running an unlicensed kennel at two separate homes from which he sold "ragdoll" kittens online.

Savoy Police Chief Stephen Dean and Carrie Loholdt, animal control officer for Savoy, described in their reports what officials encountered on Jan. 31 as they responded to neighbors’ complaints about two houses on Griffin Hill Road.

In one house, which appeared to be uninhabited with no power or heat, officials found that the cats were living in abject squalor, with no food and little water. They were all infested with fleas and ear mites, and according to the reports, they all also suffered from upper respiratory infections that were so bad, some had blood seeping from their noses and mouths. Many had severe eye infections.

D’Alessandro arrived during the visit and agreed to surrender his ownership of the cats, according to the report.

The cats have since received medical treatment and many have been adopted out.

D’Alessandro pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Friday to 31 counts of animal cruelty -- one for each cat -- and 25 counts of rabies vaccination violations that resulted after a search warrant was served at two properties, according to police reports.

The case against him will next go to pretrial conference, which was scheduled for May 23. Judge Michael J. Ripps allowed D’Alessandro to be released on his own recognizance on the condition he does not care for or control cats or any other domesticated animal.

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