Conspirators Killed his Dog, Sad Man Says

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) – A sheriff’s deputy conspired to kill a man’s dog after the “peaceful and quiet” husky killed a neighbor’s pet duck, the dog’s owner claims in court.
     Robert Anderson sued Rich County and its Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Dale Stacey; the neighbor, Benjamin Negus; and former deputy sheriff Dennis Salzetti, in Federal Court.
     Salzetti is retired.
     The complaint states: “On or about January 15, 2012, defendant Benjamin Negus came home from church to his residence in the Swan Creek subdivision in Rich County, Utah, and found a pure white husky dog leaving his property with a duck in its mouth. Mr. Negus got in his pick-up truck and lured the dog into the back cab area of his truck. The dog (‘Daisy’) belonged to the plaintiff, Robert Anderson, and was known by Mr. Negus to be Anderson’s dog.
     “Rather than contact Mr. Anderson or afford him any due process rights whatsoever, Mr. Negus went down to the local gas station and spoke to defendant Dennis Salzetti, then a Rich County deputy, who was on duty and in uniform.
     “Mr. Negus told Deputy Salzetti his version of events, to wit, that the dog had killed one of his son’s pet ducks at his residence … [in] Garden City, Utah, and inquired of Deputy Salzetti whether it was within his legal right to kill the dog.
     “However, Mr. Negus failed to inform Salzetti that it was against the subdivision covenants to harbor fowls. At the time, there was no ‘lease law’ in the subdivision with regard to dogs.
     “Deputy Salzetti confirmed to Mr. Negus that he had full authority to kill the animal.”
     So Negus shot Daisy “once in the guts and once in the head” and killed her, Anderson says in the complaint. He adds: “Defendants initially refused to disclose the location of Daisy’s carcass but after a couple of days defendant Negus dumped the remains on the road outside of plaintiff’s property.”
     Anderson says he reported Salzetti’s “malfeasance,” but the sheriff’s office and a county prosecutor pursued misdemeanor charges against Anderson for “allowing vicious animals to run at large.”
     The charges were “an apparent attempt to silence him from his pursuit of justice,” Anderson says. He says he was convicted of a class B misdemeanor, but the verdict was reversed for improper jurisdiction, and he was acquitted in a jury trial.
     Anderson claims that the sheriff’s office “did conspire to cover up, conceal or ignore the criminal conduct of both Negus and Salzetti and refuse to investigate, charge or otherwise prosecute in any manner either defendant for their criminal misconduct, while simultaneously maintaining wrongful criminal actions against the plaintiff in an attempt to silence him or thwart him from pursuing justice for the unlawful death of his dog.”
     Killing his dog was an act of animal cruelty, because had not attacked “domestic fowls,” Anderson says. He says poor Daisy “was in the back of Mr. Negus’ pick-up, peaceful and quiet, up until the time Negus summarily executed her.”
     Rural Rich County, pop. 2,264, is 123 miles from Salt Lake City in Utah’s northeast corner.
     Anderson seeks $10,000 for emotional distress and punitive damages for conspiracy and civil rights violations.
     “The value of the dog, given the heartfelt relationship between dog and master, is priceless,” Anderson says.
     He is represented by Steven Wutchrich, of Montpelier, Idaho.

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