Thursday, September 29, 1988

Florida: Accused of beating a tiny kitten to death and feeding it to his pit bull, Michael Biondi, 21, now accused of breaking into shelter and stealing his dogs back

FLORIDA -- A man accused earlier this week of feeding a kitten to his pit bull terrier has been charged with breaking into the Broward County Animal Control Division and removing his dog and another pit bull.

Hollywood resident Michael Biondi, 21, of the 2100 block of Cleveland Street, surrendered to police on Tuesday at the Broward County Courthouse, but refused to tell authorities where the missing dogs were. One of the missing dogs is Biondi`s pet.

Biondi was charged with burglary, two counts of petty theft and felony criminal mischief for breaking into the facility at 1871 SW 40th St. and removing the dogs, sheriff`s spokesman George Crolius said. Biondi was being held in the Broward County Jail on Wednesday in lieu of $1,550 bail.

Biondi`s dog was taken away by Broward County Animal Control after a neighbor said he saw Biondi standing over the dog as it repeatedly bit a cat last Thursday. Biondi was charged with animal cruelty in connection with the cat incident.

The other missing pit bull, a 35-pound, brown-and-white female, had been quarantined for rabies observation since Sept. 21 after biting a Carver Ranches man. The dog was supposed to remain quarantined until Saturday, according to state regulations, said Larry Atwell, Animal Control assistant director.

"Should the dog not be recovered (by Saturday), that would mean we cannot tell the (dog bite victim) if the dog is healthy," said Sgt. Sherry Schlueter, supervisor of the sheriff`s agricultural crimes/animal abuse unit. "It would be up to the man to decide if he wanted to undergo rabies shots."

The victim, Bob Hough, could not be located for comment.

County health officials, however, said it is unlikely the missing pit bull is infected with rabies.

Steve Dennison, assistant environmental health director at the Broward County Public Health Unit, said the most recent case of a rabies-infected animal was a bat in 1984. A domestic animal has not been found with rabies in the county since 1955, when a cat contracted the disease, Dennison said.

"The odds are pretty good the animal wasn`t rabid," he said.

Dennison also said rabies shots no longer consist of a 21-shot series in the abdomen. Current treatment is a series of five shots in the arm during a two- week period, he said.

The dogs were reported missing on Tuesday morning after Animal Control employees found two empty cages, and discovered holes cut in chain-link fences and gates enclosing the compound, Atwell said.

"We suspect that he was probably trying to rescue his dog," Schlueter said. "He probably mistakenly believed it would automatically be killed."

(Sun Sentinel - September 29, 1988)


Tuesday, September 27, 1988

Florida: Michael Biondi, 21, accused of beating a tiny kitten to death and then holding the kitten's broken and battered body up in the air and letting his pit bull rip it to pieces

FLORIDA -- The owner of a pit bull terrier was charged with cruelty to animals on Monday after police said he was seen feeding a kitten to his dog.

Michael Biondi, 21, of the 2100 block of Cleveland St., was accused of feeding the kitten to the dog on Thursday, Broward Sheriff`s Office spokesman Al Gordon said.

A Hollywood police officer, who arrived at the scene after a neighbor called police, said he witnessed Biondi standing over the dog as it was continually biting the cat, Gordon said.

An autopsy of the cat revealed that it had died of blows to the head and mid- section and was killed before the dog got to it, Gordon said.

The dog was taken away by Broward County Animal Control and Biondi was issued a notice to appear in court, Gordon said. The cruely charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

(Sun Sentinel - September 27, 1988)