MARTINSBURG, W.Va. —A Falling Waters, W.Va., man accused of mistreating more than 130 dogs and several cats was charged with 141 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.
Rocky Del Trolio, 54, of 64 Slate Lane, was arraigned on the charges Monday by Magistrate Jim Humphrey shortly after a seizure hearing was held by the magistrate at Trolio’s request.
Humphrey upheld the county’s decision to remove the animals June 19 from Trolio’s home after hearing testimony from Berkeley County Animal Control officer Kevin Jones and Trolio, who testified without an attorney.
At the end of the seizure hearing, a $11,226 bond was set to cover the cost of the animals’ care for 30 days. The animals have been in the county’s custody since they were seized June 19 and will remain so until the misdemeanor case is resolved, according to Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Saunders.
Trolio was released on $42,300 bond after Humphrey arraigned him on the misdemeanor charges, according to court records.
Jones testified that animals at the split-level home were found extremely dehydrated, underweight and with mange, a skin disease. Their fur was matted with feces, Jones said.
There were 133 dogs and 10 cats at the residence where Trolio and his wife reside, Jones testified. His wife, who has not been charged, told authorities she had no involvement with the animals.
One dog, which was bleeding severely from a gash on its neck, had to be put down at the home after authorities arrived with a search warrant, Jones testified.
Two or three dogs had to be euthanized due to their condition, said Jones, who recounted how authorities found large amounts of feces and urine as they entered the home and also on the walls, television, countertops and stove in other areas of the residence.
Jones said they didn’t find any food, water bowls or litter boxes for the animals in the house. About half of the dogs were deemed underweight after being examined by a veterinarian, Jones said.
On the witness stand, Trolio insisted that he fed and gave water to the dogs every day, and allowed the canines to run outside before taking them back into the house each night.
Trolio testified he spent $15,000 on dog food.
The number of dogs Trolio said he was caring for began to grow last year and “it got to the point where we needed help.”
Trolio said people would ask him to take care of the animals temporarily and come back to get them.
He said he posted advertisements and gave a lot of dogs away, but said he started getting more than he could give away.
Trolio also indicated he called Berkeley County Animal Control and animal-protection groups for help, but didn’t get any response from anyone.
“I begged everyone for help,” Trolio said. “I begged and I pleaded.”
Jones said he did not have any such conversation with Trolio prior to the seizure of the animals, but couldn’t say whether other animal control officers might have spoken with Trolio.