MARLBOROUGH — The Marlborough man convicted of abuse and neglect after his 52 Labrador retrievers and one cat were removed from his property last year is objecting in court to the proposed medical treatment for one of the dogs.
John Riggieri, 58, is appealing his misdemeanor convictions for animal cruelty and neglect, and is technically still the owner of the dogs. All of the dogs were taken from him and have since been placed in foster care by the Monadnock Humane Society.
According to court records, Riggieri is objecting to a request to have one of the dogs, Mookie, neutered. Two veterinarians at the Humane Society have recommended that Mookie be neutered as part of the treatment for the dog’s bladder ailments, according to court records.
Riggieri instead wants the dog examined by another veterinarian to check for a possible cancer diagnosis. If no cancer is found, he wants the dog treated with long-term antibiotics, according to the court record, instead of being neutered.
The dogs were taken from Riggieri’s Marlborough home on July 10 when he was served with an eviction notice. Police say the animals were living in filth in the home, and that some of the puppies kept in a bathtub were injured, according to court records.
His attorney, Keith Matthews, said during the April sentencing hearing that Riggieri is philosophically opposed to neutering and spaying animals.
Riggieri initially tried to get help with the dogs in the months before they were taken, Matthews said. Riggieri reached out to the Monadnock Humane Society to see about giving up some of the animals for adoption, but he ultimately refused to do it because the shelter wanted to have the dogs spayed and/or neutered, Matthews said.
As part of his sentence, Riggeri is blocked from keeping any animals as pets for the next 10 years. After that time he may have one cat or one dog, but that animal must be spayed or neutered, according to the sentence. When the sentence was imposed, Riggieri asked if he could instead keep a dog that had had a vasectomy. That request was denied.
So far, the Monadnock Humane Society has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars caring for the Labradors. Riggieri must also pay $78,000 in restitution to the organization as part of his sentence.
Riggieri is scheduled for a final hearing on his appeal next month in the Cheshire Superior Court in Keene.