Pittsburgh Animal Care and Control officer charged with severely injuring a dog

PITTSBURGH — A City of Pittsburgh worker is facing charges after police say he caused extensive injuries to a dog he was supposed to be helping.

James Genco, 46, is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and other offenses for the incident on March 17.

Genco and another Animal Care and Control officer were called to the Strip District for a report of two dogs left unattended inside a vehicle. The dogs were removed and taken to Human Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh to be held until their owner was located.

While there, a witness heard “yelping” and “screaming” coming from the area where Genco was with the dog.

Surveillance video checked later showed Genco dragging the dog for more than 30 feet, with a trail of blood and urine behind the animal.

The dog, a pit bull mix, was taken to the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty Emergency Clinic. Veterinarians said the dog was severely injured, with a broken tail, broken teeth and nails, ruptured blood vessels, abrasions and signs of strangulation.

Genco told investigators the dog “may have hit the building as he was removing him from the truck.”

Veterinarians said “excessive force was used, for sure.”

The dog was treated for its injuries.

Genco was charged on Thursday.

“They did their best to help this dog out of a potentially tragic situation,” said Genco’s attorney, Casey White. “Police officers almost had to draw their weapon on this dog. This dog was vicious, angry, mean and nasty, flipping its body around, strangling itself, causing self-inflicted wounds.”