An Erie County Court jury has returned a not guilty verdict in the case of a Sloan man accused of aggravated animal cruelty in the killing of his dog.
Michael Tortorici, 58, admitted to beating and fatally shooting his 10-year-old German Shepard Max last November in his Broadway home. Authorities say he beat the dog with wooden implements and killed him using a shotgun.
Tortorici said he killed the 100-pound dog in self-defense after it attacked him and threatened his grandson. He told police the animal was "going bananas."
Following a week-long trial, a jury deliberated for 90 minutes on Friday and another 90 minutes Monday morning before reaching the verdict.