Portsmouth, Va. - With tears streaming down his face, Nicholas Pelloni shared his side of the story with NewsChannel 3. Police arrested the 37-year-old Portsmouth man last week for felony animal cruelty. They say he left his nine dogs, a female Boxer and her eight puppies, with no food or water.
“People who know me know I love my animals,” Pelloni says. “They know I’m not like this. They know I’m not a mean person."
The conditions were so bad that officers say one of the puppies died from starvation.
“I’m being made out to be the bad person, when I thought I was doing the right thing,” Pelloni says.
The right thing, Pelloni says, was that he says he called Portsmouth Animal Control to surrender the puppies.
“I couldn`t give them the proper care and medication that they needed so that`s why I called Animal Control, to get them the proper care and medication that they needed,” he says.
However, police have a different account. They say it was a call requesting an animal welfare check that led them to Pelloni’s home on Pacific Avenue.
On July 31st officers found the visibly thin dogs in a garage; the dead puppy was inside a storage container.
“They had food but I just didn`t have a chance to feed them that morning,” Pelloni says. “I had a doctor`s appointment that I had to go to.”
“When she came in she was pretty emaciated," says Erin Jackson, who works at the Portsmouth Humane Society. She’s referring to Coco, Pelloni’s adult Boxer that was rescued.
“She weighed about 46 pounds,” Jackson says. “Since then she`s put on ten pounds through just a regimented feeding schedule.”
The puppies are also at the shelter.
“They were all also very emaciated,” Jackson says. “You could see their ribs.”
Pelloni says he's not giving up.
“I am going to fight it because I didn`t do anything wrong. I`ll take that to my grave.”
All of the rescued puppies will be up for adoption Wednesday at the Portsmouth Humane Society.
Pelloni is scheduled to be in court in Wednesday morning.