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Man who Let Dog Die in Sweltering Car last July Gets Fine, Probation

A man charged with animal cruelty after leaving his dog in a parked car outside the Plainfield Pike Walmart on a hot July day this past summer will pay a fine and serve one year of probation.

Police said Francesco Placella, 51, of Foster, left the 5-year-old dog named Bella in his car during a blistering heatwave on July 16 after he was told by a Walmart employee that he could not bring his dog in the store with him while he shopped.

Police were dispatched to the Walmart for a report of a man yelling and screaming at people as they walked in the parking lot. 

That man was Placella, and he was gone when police arrived. Witnesses said he was upset because his dog died in his car while in the store and drove away in a red Ford station wagon.

About an hour-and-a-half later, Johnston Police contacted Cranston Police to tell them there was a man who brought the unresponsive dog to a PETSMART in that town and when he left, "he threatened to go back to the Walmart and 'shoot the place up,'" said Cranston Police Major Robert W. Ryan.

That man was Placella.

A necropsy later concluded that the dog died from heat exhaustion and video surveillance footage taken at the Walmart showed Placella was in the store shopping for about 43 minutes, "which proved to be too long given the temperatures of the mid-nineties" Ryan said, noting Placella's decision to leave the dog in the car with some water was "a terrible decision."

The dog was taken from Banfield Veterinary Hospital inside the Johnston PETSMART to the RISPCA by Johnston Police, which is where the necropsy was performed.

Placella pleaded no contest and was convicted of unncessary curlety to animals in Kent County District Court on Dec. 9. He was fined and sentenced to one year of probation.

“This was an extremely unfortunate incident and perhaps what makes incidents like this more tragic, is that they are preventable if common sense is utilized," said Cranston Police Chief Col. Marco Palombo Jr. "The animal cruelty laws have been modified to give law enforcement the leverage they need to prosecute these offenders. Thanks to the efforts of Detective Paula Duffy and Mr. Warzycha of the SPCA, Mr. Placella was held accountable for his actions as justice was properly served”. 
Susan M Heroux December 13, 2013 at 11:42 PM
The story does not say - did they rule that this man can no longer own animals? He certainly should not be allowed to.
James R December 14, 2013 at 09:37 AM
Putting hi m inside a car with the windows closed on a 90 degree day would be justice. He should bake.
James R December 14, 2013 at 09:39 AM
This man made terroristic threats and he was not charged? Those Police are asleep.
LisaA Estrada December 25, 2013 at 03:46 PM
This inhuman person should be serving community service during his probation period. This dogs death was due to negligent by the owner. He should also be charged with making threats anger management classes should be taken as well. A fine and probation what does that really do? This man needs to be in the public eye cleaning dog kennels . He paid a fine and probation for what not causing another animals death?

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