Owner of 52 Labradors found guilty

One of the 52 dogs taken from John Riggieri’s Marlborough home in July 2018.

KEENE — Marlborough resident John Riggieri was found guilty of two misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty Friday in the 8th District Court in Keene.

The charges stemmed from the way Riggieri kept his 52 Labrador retrievers on his Shaker Farm Road property.

“It’s a guilty finding; that’s all we were asking for,” said Kathy Collinsworth, the executive director of the Monadnock Humane Society in Swanzey.

The humane society has been caring for the dogs, puppies and cat seized in July from Riggieri’s home for the better part of eight months. Collinsworth said the organization has spent more then $240,000 caring for the animals, some of which she said have had severe medical conditions as a result of the way they were cared for by Riggieri. The dogs are all in foster care now, but because Riggieri plans to appeal the case, they cannot yet be adopted, she said.

Cheshire County Sheriff’s Deputy Caleb Dodson testified to seeing all three floors of Riggieri’s house covered in a layer of dirt, urine and feces. The foul odor was strong even outside the home, Dodson testified.

“It smelled like urine and feces all over the place,” he said.

Dodson was at the home on July 10 to execute a writ of possession, as Riggieri was set to lose the property as part of a protracted bankruptcy case. Dodson said he contacted the humane society after learning Riggieri had not made plans to have his dogs cared for once the house was taken.

Riggieri reportedly operated a dog breeding business from his home, according to Collinsworth.

After the dogs were taken by the humane society and Riggieri left, Dodson went inside the home to document the conditions and found the house strewn with dog filth.

One of the bathtubs contained dog feces and a water dish was apparently full of urine, he said.

The bathtub was where Riggieri allegedly kept a litter of puppies, according to Collinsworth.

Riggieri was originally charged with five misdemeanor animal cruelty counts, but Judge James Gleason found him guilty on two — one for the way he kept 33 adult dogs and the other for the way he kept the puppies.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April.