Former trooper pleads not-guilty in shooting death of dog

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y (WKTV) - The retired New York State Trooper accused of shooting and killing a Utica man's pet German Shepherd entered a not-guilty plea to one felony and one misdemeanor in Oneida County Court Friday morning.

Sperfeld says Shadow's death came as an act of revenge - that he got into a verbal argument with a woman at the Trenton Greenbelt Trails the day before and that she said she had connections and would "take care of your dog."

Anthony Randazzo says it was self defense; a theory his attorney discussed after Friday's brief court proceeding.

"According to my client, the dog was running at full speed," said defense attorney Les Lewis. "He does have a license to carry a pistol. He had a pistol in his pocket before the dog got right upon him. He pulled the gun out and shot the dog and it was either that or engage the dog in hand to hand combat."

The prosecutor says science might shatter that theory.

"My premise is that the dog was shot once and stopped, so even if there was a threat, it was extinguished after that first shot," said Prosecutor Christopher Pelli. "And then there was more damage done to the dog with a second shot."

The dog's owner, Bernard Sperfeld, says he was playing with his dog, "Shadow" at the Trenton Greenbelt Trails on August 30 when Randazzo shot the dog, more than once.

Randazzo is charged with a felony and a misdemeanor.

The prosecutor did extend a plea offer Friday morning, the details of which include a guilty plea to the misdemeanor, a $1,000 fine, $450 restitution, a permanent order of protection for Sperfeld and Randazzo would have to surrender his pistol permit.

If found guilty of the felony at trial, Randazzo could face jail time and have his license revoked.

He is due back in Oneida County Court November 7 to decide on that plea offer.

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