Man charged with abusing a dog and causing its death

File photo

A Middletown Township man has been charged in the death of a dog after an investigation by township police and the Bucks County SPCA.

On July 13, the Middletown Township Police Department Animal Control Officer received a call from BluePearl Pet Emergency and Specialty Hospital on Veterans Highway that a dog had been brought to the facility deceased and had bruises that worried vets. The dog’s owner told pet hospital staff that she suspected her husband of abusing the dog, according to court documents.

A police detective has obtained a search warrant for the body of the one-year-old mixed race boxer. The dog’s remains were taken to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg for an autopsy, authorities said.

A few days after the dog’s death, lab personnel performed the autopsy, a post-mortem examination of an animal, and discovered that the dog had died of traumatic shock that seemed to suggest an “injury not accidental”. The lab found blunt force trauma and healing rib fractures, suggesting a past traumatic event, police said.


In mid-August, a township detective and an SPCA police officer went to visit the family who owned the dog and spoke with Alfino Santangelo, 43, at the Middletown township home, police said. .

Santangelo reportedly told investigators he was seeing a therapist and was “shrinking” for anger issues.

Santangelo told detectives he came home the day the dog died and found it had defecated in an upstairs hallway. He cleaned up the mess and drove to a nearby Wawa, police said.

When Santangelo returned from Wawa, he found the dog, named Porscha, had diarrhea in the same upstairs hallway, police said.

Santangelo, according to police, said he kicked the dog while wearing steel towed work boots to discipline her.


Santangelo said after kicking the dog, he took her for her normal daily walk, according to police.


Santangelo’s wife and children returned home about two hours later to find the dog unresponsive with agonal breathing, prompting them to take the dog to a pet hospital, police said.

Santangelo also allegedly admitted to kicking the dog in an earlier incident.

Santangelo reportedly told investigators that the dog had long been having bouts of bloody diarrhea but had not been seen by a doctor while in his care, police said.

Investigators said veterinary records for the dog before the Santangelo’s owned him showed he was in good health and had no medical issues.

Santangelo was recently charged with aggravated animal cruelty, cruelty to animals and animal neglect. He was previously arraigned before District Judge Daniel Baranoski and bail was set at an unsecured $1,500.

Editor’s note: Anyone arrested or accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The story was compiled from information from police and public court documents.

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