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Racine man arrested after dragging dog behind van

Peter M Valente, 53 of Racine has been charged with felony Mistreatment of Animals/Cause Death and misdemeanor Intentionally Lead Animal From Car (with the repeater enhancement due to previous convictions on other charges). He is scheduled to make his initial appearance on his return on warrant on this afternoon, Thursday October 5th. His bail as been set $15,000 cash bond and is currently on a hold from the Wi Department of Correction. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for  October 12, 2017

According the to criminal complaint filed in Racine Courts, on August 11, 2017, Racine Police Department were dispatched to the 1600 block of LaSalle Street. Upon arrival, witnesses who stated that at around 9:30 p.m. they heard a metal dragging noise coming from down the street looked out the window she saw a green conversion van that appeared to be dragging something. As the van drove in front of the house they could see it was dragging a tan dog. There was a car following the van honking its horn in an attempt to get the van to stop. As the van attempted to pull over, the dog broke free and limped to the side walk and headed south. They van then drove away.

Officers followed a blood trail to the 1400 block LaSalle Street where he located a van that matched the description. Officers made contact with with 2 people, who stated that they thought the dog was hit by a car. a witness stated that she tried to clean the dog’s wounds. They then stated they asked the dog’s owner about getting the dog medical care, but the dogs owner was drinking heavily and would not answer.

Officers walked over to the van and found it occupied. There was a man sleeping inside who identified himself as Peter Valente. Valente stated he drove the van at around 9:30 p.m. to buy beer. Officers asked Valente if he knew anything about a dog being dragged from the vehicle and Valente immediately became defensive and stated he would never do anything like that. Valente then stated he knew the dog was missing and that he went to look for it. Officers noted that Valente’s story did not make sense and that he could smell a very strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath. Valente then stated that he loved the dog very much and that if something like that happened it would be an accident.

The dog was then transported to the vet who stated that the injuries to the dog were very severe and the dog may need to be put down. The veterinarian also stated that the dog was in bad shape prior to being dragged. She stated the dog had mange, is underweight, has broken teeth and is covered in fleas.

On August 12, 2017 CSO Officers made contact with Valente who stated that he could not remember what happened the night before. He also said that if he did drag the dog he did not mean to and the he would not have tied the dog to his van on purpose.

On August 16, 2017 CSO Officers then made contact with the owner of a business who supplied her with footage from August 11. In the video at 9:48 p.m. a green conversion van is seen driving into the parking lot. The driver is a white male with a shaved head who appears to be Valente. As the van pulls into the parking lot officers could see that there is a cable with a pink collar dragging behind the van, the complaint reads.

The criminal complaint states that the veterinary reports state that the dog has a poor body and coat condition. He had significant bruising and road rash on his stomach and testicles. All four legs had exposed tendons with black cauterization around the edges. The dog’s paw pads were ripped open and exposed. The vet’s report stated that the trauma sustained by the dog matches injuries that would occur from being dragged. The report also indicates that the dog’s condition was poor prior to the incident. The dog has severe hair loss, which is associated with fleas. His teeth are broken and his body condition was a 3 out of 9 on the Purina Scale. The dog’s ribs and spine were prominent and his pelvis was starting to show. The report stated that it will take months of treatment to cure the dog of his injuries and skin condition.