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Owner charged with animal cruelty after dog’s death sparks outcry

Updated February 3, 2021 - 10:52 am

The owner of a dog whose death last summer sparked outcry among local animal advocates has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, North Las Vegas court records show.

The dog, Lily, died in August after being tethered outside in the heat. Animal advocates in September started a petition in Lily’s name to strengthen North Las Vegas animal cruelty ordinances.

The owner, Arnold Galanto, 42, was formally charged Jan. 12 in North Las Vegas Municipal Court, records show. The charges came about a month after the city in December changed ordinances to set harsher penalties in some instances of animal abuse.

Galanto is accused of illegally tethering Lily, a brown Labrador retriever, and Optimus, a white pit-bull mix, while they were outside his home from Aug. 19 to Aug. 20, according to a criminal complaint.

2 leashed outside

Both dogs were leashed outside, and video posted on the Facebook page of Nevada Voters for Animals — which started the September petition — shows Lily lying partly in the sun with her mouth open, making sudden movements.

“You can see her just laying there, it’s torture — baking to death,” Gina Greisen, president of the group, said Tuesday.

Greisen said officials told her that Optimus was moved inside after Lily died, but she’s waiting for court hearings to learn if the second dog is healthy.

Ordinances changed

The North Las Vegas Police Department requested the revised city ordinances, which the North Las Vegas City Council passed on Dec. 16, city records show.

The changed ordinance criminalized the failure to provide animals with food, water or veterinary care and required that animals kept outdoors have access to adequate shelter, according to city records.

The ordinance also reduced the maximum amount of time a dog can be tethered outside during a 24-hour period from 14 hours to 10 hours, city spokesman Patrick Walker said Tuesday.

Greisen said her organization pushed for felony charges against Lily’s owner but views the misdemeanor counts as a “win,” and called the ordinance a positive step for animal advocates. She is glad the city was quick to change its procedures.

“Lily did not die in vain, I think that’s the more important thing,” she said.

Galanto is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 25, court records show.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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