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Former trooper found not-guilty in fatal shooting of man's pet dog

By HILARY LANE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Former State Trooper Anthony Randazzo was found not-guilty in the death Monday in Oneida County Court of shooting another man's pet German Shepherd to death back in August.

He was accused of fatally and intentionally shooting a dog named Shadow at the Trenton Greenbelt Trails in August 2011 and faced charges of animal cruelty and aggravated animal cruelty.

The bench trial began with heated testimony from the dog's owner, Bernard Sperfeld, who testified Randazzo, 51, of Holland Patent, shot Shadow out of revenge after he had gotten into an altercation with Randazzo's female friend, Kimberly Celecki. During the course of the trial, the prosecutor referred to Celecki as Randazzo's 'girlfriend,' something she denied on the stand

Sperfeld claimed that he had an argument with Celecki at the Trenton Greenbelt Trails, at which time, he called Celecki a curse word. He claimed she replied that she "had friends" that would "take care of him and his dog." As his testimony unfolded, Sperfeld claimed that one morning following the argument with Celecki, he saw no one around the trails and let Shadow off his leash. As Shadow ran on his own, Sperfeld claimed that Randazzo hid behind a sign at the Trenton Greenbelt Trails and then fired shots when Shadow was alone and in clear view.

Randazzo claimed that he didn't shoot until the 126 pound German Shepherd began charging toward him. He said he was holding his licensed pistol and acted on impulse to save his life.

"I am sorry such a beautiful dog had to be put in that situation, that he was out of control and I knew too much about dogs to know I could take the chance," said Randazzo.

Also on the stand was a veterinarian who testified Shadow was charging at Randazzo based on the location of the bullet wounds on the dog's body.

After the verdict was read, Sperfeld was visibly distressed.

"There is no justice," said Sperfeld. "If it was me, I would have been sitting in jail right after the shooting. They would have taken all my guns away and I would have been in jail. There is no justice. Just because he is an ex-state trooper that is why he gets privileged."

Randazzo chose to have his case handled as a bench trial, where a judge hears the case and makes a decision, rather than a jury. Although the case was in Oneida County Court, it was heard by Herkimer County Court Judge John Crandall.

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