Thursday, January 18, 2018
Public safety

Riverview man charged with Hernando Animal Services threats taken into custody

BROOKSVILLE — Authorities have arrested a Riverview man they say threatened to bomb Hernando County Animal Services and kill its employees.

Peter Dalessandro, who investigators say has a history of making threats in the defense of mistreated animals, made the anonymous calls April 20, one week after Animal Services staff members euthanized an 8-month-old pit bull mix named Zeus within minutes of when it had been turned over to the shelter.

Dalessandro, 52, turned himself in to Hillsborough County deputies late Wednesday night. Brooksville police had issued a warrant that included six felony counts of threatening to place or discharge a destructive device and five misdemeanor assault charges.

Dalessandro remained in custody Thursday afternoon in lieu of $31,250 bail.

Brooksville police Chief George Turner said investigators traced the calls to Dalessandro's cell phone. After authorities left him messages requesting he contact them, Turner said, Dalessandro discarded that phone and got a new number, but never called them back.

Dalessandro, who has no criminal history in Hernando County, has long been passionate about animal issues.

In 1999, he protested the Dade City Police Department's failure to arrest a suspect in a kitten-killing case. Two years later, authorities say, someone from Dalessandro's home made a series of phone calls threatening an Iowa defense attorney who was defending a man accused of animal cruelty. In 2002, he offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who killed a cat and its six kittens.

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432.

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