Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Riverview man wanted in case of threats to Hernando County Animal Services

BROOKSVILLE — Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for 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 Friday, 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.

Brooksville Police Chief George Turner said investigators traced the calls to 52-year-old 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.

Brooksville officers and Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies went to Dalessandro's home at 4422 Barnstead Drive, where they found his vehicle parked outside. Authorities banged on the door for hours, Turner said, but no one answered.

"I'm sure at some point he'll come out and be arrested," Turner said. "Or he'll turn himself in."

The warrant includes six felony counts of threatening to place or discharge a destructive device and five misdemeanor assault charges.

Dalessandro, who has no criminal history in Hernando County, was involved in another bizarre case 11 years ago.

A man in Burlington, Iowa, had been accused of animal cruelty, and his trial was being broadcast nationally on Court TV. Someone from Dalessandro's home, authorities say, made a series of phone calls threatening the defendant and his attorney, Michael Schillings.

Schillings taped one of the anonymous calls and presented it as evidence in the case, hoping to have the TV cameras removed from the courtroom.

"This apparently incited the suspect even more," a report said, "as he was watching the trial on TV and learned that his phone call had been tapped."

The suspect, investigators say, then began making harassing calls to the Burlington Police Department.

Hernando County Sheriff's Office detectives traced the call to the home where Dalessandro lived at the time, 360 Florian Way in Spring Hill.

No one was ever charged with a crime, possibly, Turner suspected, because Iowa authorities didn't intend to extradite.

In 1999, Dalessandro led an animal rights demonstration outside the Dade City police station. He and four others picketed the station over the Police Department's failure to arrest a suspect in a kitten-killing case.

Three years later, the then-social worker offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who killed a cat and its six kittens.

Dalessandro, Turner said, now lives in Riverview with his mother and, according to neighbors, rarely leaves his home.

Times files and researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or jcox@tampabay.com.

Riverview man wanted in case of threats to Hernando County Animal Services 04/25/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.