HAZARD – A Hazard man already facing trial in federal court was indicted last week by the grand jury in Perry County on charges including possession and cruelty to animals.
It was in July 2011 when officers with the Hazard Police Department responded to the residence of 48-year-old Peter Cassinelli on Eversole Street following a complaint of drug activity. When police arrived, they determined that one of the houses Cassinelli owned was being used to house several animals, including cats, dogs, and ferrets, two of which had been severely neglected.
“It was pretty poor living conditions for the animals,” Hazard Police Chief Minor Allen said at the time, noting that fecal matter was scattered about in one of the rooms where two emaciated dogs had been found living. Allen, who was a major in the department when the case was opened, is listed as the grand jury witness, according to the indictment.
Police later obtained a search warrant for Cassinelli’s residence, where they reported finding several firearms and drugs. According to the indictment returned last week, Cassinelli was alleged to have concealed drugs inside a garbage bag, and was illegally in possession of methadone. The indictment further alleges that Cassinelli intentionally neglected “to feed and care for his animals.”
He is currently facing local charges of second-degree cruelty to animals, tampering with physical evidence, and first-degree possession of a controlled substance. Bail was set at $20,000, and he is due in court for arraignment Nov. 15.
Cassinelli is also currently awaiting trial in the federal weapons case, in which prosecutors say that he failed to register as required by law, and illegally possessed, several firearms authorities seized from his residence on July 29, 2011. He was originally set to go to trial in August, but according to court records the case has been continued. He is currently scheduled to go to trial Monday, Dec. 10.