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Lackawanna residents take outrage to city hall, protesting animal control officer

Protestors take outrage over Lackawanna Animal Control Officer to City Hall
Posted at 11:25 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 23:25:07-04

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Lackawanna residents protested outside City Hall Monday night before the city council meeting. They are outraged with the city's animal control officer Fred Grasso who killed a dog earlier this month.

Erik Piechowicz organized the protests and was one of eight residents who voiced their concerns to the council at the meeting.

"They just took it upon themselves to play judge, jury, and executioner and put a bullet in a dog's head," he said.

Grasso and a Lackawanna city police officer were called to Holy Cross cemetery, responding to calls of a loose dog wandering around the city. Officials said the two tried to catch the dog with a hoop, but when they couldn't Grasso shot the animal. Now, some residents want to see Grasso gone.

"Just because he's got the title dog warden, I don't feel like it gives him the right to outright kill an animal and not have consequences," said Lackawanna resident Laura Draves.

Lackawanna's Director of Public Safety Ralph Galanti said the decision was justified.

"We investigated it, it was a wild animal," he said. "Fred ended up looking on the internet and it looked to him like it was a coy-dog, which is a cross between a coyote and a feral animal."

Galanti said the New York State Agricultural and Markets office also looked into the case and found no wrong doing, and that the Erie County District Attorney's office is investigating as well.

Unsatisfied with the outcome of the meeting, Piechowicz said he'll be back at city hall protesting on Friday.

"It was frustrating," he said. "I was appreciative that they at least listened to us, but I feel like that's all they did was listen to us, it went in one ear and out the other ear."