Modified: October 6, 2015 9:22am
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces that 35 year- old suspended Buffalo Police Department Cell Block Attendant Shanon Richardson was found guilty as charged of four counts of Prohibition of Animal Fighting and two counts of Animal Cruelty, after a two-week jury trial presided over by State Supreme Court Justice Cristopher J. Burns. These are the highest charges for which Richardson could have been convicted.
On December 7, 2013, Buffalo Police Officers responded to a complaint of a burglary-in-progress at Richardson’s home. Although no intruders were found, four pit-bulls were, including one that was gruesomely scarred and confined in a basement cage. Treadmills, harnesses and animal fighting paraphernalia, as well as dogfighting literature and training manuals, were also recovered in Richardson’s residence.
Expert witness Dr. Rachel Touroo, Director of Veterinary Forensics for the ASPCA, testified that the injuries to two of the dogs were attributable to organized animal fighting. Dr. Randall Lockwood, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA, educated the jury regarding the blood sport of dogfighting and testified that the Richardson’s basement was obviously being used to train pit-bulls for dogfighting.
The defense called a self-described “forensic veterinarian” from New Jersey, who offered several theories for the dogs’ injuries, including overzealous scratching. The defendant also took the stand in his own defense, claiming he was a “God-fearing animal lover” and characterizing the dog’s injuries as accidental, self-inflicted and/or having been caused by a neighborhood pussycat. The jury rejected Richardson’s preposterous claims and the “expert” opinion of his hired witness and convicted him as charged.
No stranger to the criminal justice system, and to hurting two-legged and four-legged creatures alike, Richardson has previously been convicted of Assault, Menacing, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Resisting Arrest. Richardson faces up to eight years in State Prison when he is sentenced by Justice Burns on August 25, 2015 at 9:30 AM.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Justin T. Wallens and Ashley M. Morgan, both of whom are assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau. DA Sedita stated: “Because of the excellent investigation conducted by the Buffalo Police Department and the SCPA, as well as the courtroom presentation of two ethical, professional, and mentally balanced prosecutors, a vile animal abuser has been brought to justice.”