HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania state trooper has been charged with felony animal cruelty after hitting a loose horse with a patrol vehicle multiple times and pinning it to the pavement, where it was then euthanized, authorities said Friday.
Cpl. Michael Perillo was suspended without pay after the charges were filed by the state police internal affairs division, officials announced. His bail was set at $50,000 during his arraignment Friday on two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty and one count of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.
It is not clear whether he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf. A message left Friday for the union that represents troopers, the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, was not immediately returned.
Perillo responded to a call to police Dec. 28 involving a horse on a highway in Chester County, west of Philadelphia.
The horse was on the road’s shoulder in Lower Oxford Township and had already been struck by a motorist before troopers were sent, authorities said.
Perillo drove a vehicle into the horse multiple times, causing it to fall, and then pinned the horse to the road, authorities said. Another trooper then euthanized it.
Perillo, who enlisted in the state police in September 2006, is assigned to Troop J in Avondale.
The charges against Perillo were announced after the legal window closed on requests for dashboard camera footage. State law provides 60 days to submit a request for a copy of an officer’s audio or video recording. Requests must be made in writing by certified mail or hand-delivered, and rejections can be appealed to court.