On March 17, 2021, Animal Care and Control was called to the Strip District for two dogs left unattended inside a vehicle. The dogs were removed from the vehicle by two Animal Care and Control officers and transported to Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh. In the process of the removal, one of the dogs was severely injured.
On March 25, 2021, Pittsburgh Police Officer Christine Luffey reviewed a video which was sent to City of Pittsburgh officials by Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh to determine if one of the Animal Care and Control officer's actions during the transfer of the dogs was criminal in nature.
The video is security camera footage from the internal garage area at Humane Animal Rescue. Police were also provided with a second video, showing the exterior of the facility.
During the transfer from the Animal Care and Control vehicle to Humane Animal Rescue, one of the dogs, a type of pit bull, sustained multiple injuries and was immediately transported to Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty Emergency Clinic for emergency veterinary care.
James Genco is charged with aggravated cruelty to animal - felony 3, cruelty to animal M2, and cruelty to animal summary offense.
"This is a disturbing and unfortunate incident, but it is not reflective of the dedicated work our Animal Care and Control officers do each and every day to protect and care for all animals in the City of Pittsburgh," said Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich.
Pittsburgh Police would also like to thank the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office for its cooperation with this case.