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Falling Waters man pleads guilty to 10 counts of animal cruelty

Rocky Del Trolio, accused of mistreating more than 130 dogs, got two years of unsupervised probation in the case

November 15, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Falling Waters, W.Va., man accused of mistreating more than 130 dogs and several cats pleaded guilty Thursday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court to 10 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

Rocky Del Trolio, 55, was placed on two years of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay court costs, and a six-month jail sentence was suspended as part of a plea agreement reached between Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney R. Greg Garretson and Trolio’s attorney, Paul G. Taylor.

During his probation, Trolio is prohibited from having custody of animals, according to the attorneys. 

Trolio was charged with 141 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty stemming from the alleged mistreatment of 132 dogs and eight cats that were seized June 19 by Berkeley County Animal Control, and one dog that had to be put down after being wounded during a dog fight, according to court documents.

The animals were found extremely dehydrated, underweight and with mange, a skin disease, according to court documents.

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Their fur was matted with feces, according to court documents.

Eight of the dogs had to be put down, including one that was bleeding severely from a gash on its neck when authorities arrived at the Slate Lane residence with a search warrant in June, according to Garretson and court documents.

Berkeley County Animal Control officer Kevin Jones testified in a seizure hearing that large amounts of feces and urine were found when they entered the home and also on the walls, television, countertops and stove in other areas of the residence.

Jones had said they didn’t find any food, water bowls or litter boxes for the animals in the house. About half of the dogs were deemed underweight after being examined by a veterinarian, Jones said.

On the witness stand, Trolio insisted that he fed and gave water to the dogs every day, and allowed the canines to run outside before taking them back into the house each night.

In his criminal complaint against Trolio, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael St. Clair had indicated he heard what sounded like dogs fighting when he and animal control officers arrived to execute the search warrant, according to court documents.

St. Clair indicated that every room he entered had feces on the floor, according to court documents.

The June 19 seizure came after Berkeley County Animal Control received a complaint from the Humane Society of the United States. The animal protection organization had said a puppy it obtained from the home was in “deplorable condition.”

The Humane Society of the United States said it received a complaint about sick puppies being sold from the property, which was linked to advertisements on Craigslist, and sent investigators to the property.

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