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Sloan man indicted, arraigned in dog cruelty case

A Sloan man charged in the death of a family dog has been indicted and arraigned on a felony charge of aggravated animal cruelty, Cheektowaga court officials announced today.

Michael Tortorici, 58, had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing today in Cheektowaga Town Court, but it was canceled because officials said Tortorici had been arraigned on the indictment Jan. 9 before Erie County Judge Michael L. D’Amico.

Tortorici is accused of punching, kicking and beating Max, the family’s 8-year-old German shepherd, with a wooden bar stool and a piece of lumber on Nov. 3 at his home on Broadway before shooting the 86-pound dog in the abdomen.

He told police he shot the dog because it attacked him.

Tortorici faces up to four years in prison if convicted. The judge scheduled a pretrial conference March 4 and trial July 21.