Pennsylvania State Police Corporal Charged With Animal Cruelty

Michael PerilloMichael Perillo (Submitted Image)

WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced that Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Cpl Michael Perillo, 51, of Warminster, has been charged with animal cruelty for a December 2021 incident involving a horse on US-1 in Lower Oxford Twp. The charges include aggravated cruelty to animals causing death, aggravated cruelty to animals by torture, and cruelty to animals. The defendant’s bail was set at $50,000 by Magisterial District Judge Marc Lieberman.

“The horse that was loose on US-1 last December suffered a tortured death at the hands of Cpl Michael Perillo,” said DA Deb. “Inflicting such pain on an innocent animal is unthinkable and inexcusable. No one is above the law, and my office will hold the defendant accountable for his actions.”

The allegations are as follows:

Just before midnight on Dec. 28, 2021, two PSP troopers from Troop J Avondale responded to the report of a horse standing on the shoulder of US-1 southbound between Rt. 10 and Rt. 472 in Lower Oxford Twp. The report said the horse had been struck by a car, causing damage to the vehicle but no injuries to anyone.

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When troopers arrived, the horse was standing near the accident but began traveling north in the southbound lane of US-1. One trooper unsuccessfully tried to capture the horse using a makeshift rope from jumper cables. The horse detoured onto the southbound on-ramp in the direction of Rt. 10, and the troopers’ car followed it onto the on-ramp.

At this time, the defendant arrived at the on-ramp from Rt. 10 with his emergency lights activated, blocking the horse between the two vehicles. The horse halted, then tried to go around the defendant’s car. The defendant repositioned his car, but the horse tried to go around it again. The defendant used his front bumper to hit the horse’s right leg.

The horse reversed direction and headed toward US-1 and the troopers’ car, where a trooper stood holding the makeshift rope in his right hand and his firearm in his left. The trooper fired in the animal’s direction five times, striking it at least once in the left rib cage.

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The defendant followed the running horse and struck it four times in the legs with his vehicle, with the horse landing on the hood the fourth time. The defendant struck it a fifth time when the horse fell from the hood. When the horse tried to stand up, the defendant struck it a sixth time, driving his car on top of the animal. Because the horse was still breathing, one of the other troopers present euthanized it.

The defendant’s car had nearly $9,000 in damages. Investigators are reviewing the Mobile Video Recorder in the defendant’s car.

The Pennsylvania State Police Internal Affairs Division is investigating. ADA Kate Wright is the assigned prosecutor. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 2, 2022, before Magisterial District Judge Scott Massey.

Information is subject to change at any time as additional details may emerge. Information, a criminal complaint, or an arrest is not a declaration of guilt. A suspect, arrestee, or defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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