WORCESTER – A former Auburn man charged with assaulting his girlfriend and beating her dog to death because it was keeping him awake was sentenced to state prison Monday after pleading guilty to animal cruelty, assault and firearm charges.
Gregory Fargnoli, 27, formerly of 16 Hill St., Auburn, was arrested Nov. 17, 2015, after police were called to the Hill Street home in Auburn by a roommate, who said he found the dog, a 12-year-old Catahoula named Polka Dot, dead and that he was unable to awaken Mr. Fargnoli. Mr. Fargnoli’s girlfriend at the time, Tabitha L. Taylor, told investigators that when Mr. Fargnoli was finally awakened and asked what had happened, he said, “I silenced the dog.”
The woman told police she had gone to work and received a text from Mr. Fargnoli saying the dog had bitten him twice. The text also read, “I can’t take this. I should be sleep,” according to the woman. When she returned home that afternoon, she said, she found her boyfriend asleep and her dog dead.
A forensic necropsy by a doctor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University determined that the dog died from blunt force trauma. A broom handle and a broken mop handle found near the dog’s body bore bite marks from the dog, which suffered at least 23 rib fractures, collapsed lungs, ten broken teeth, a brain bleed, internal bleeding and cuts and bruises from multiple blows, according to the report by Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, research assistant professor at Tufts and president of the Boston-based Forensic Veterinary Investigations.
The report said there was also evidence “consistent with animal sexual assault” and “suggestive of forceful penetration of the dog’s vagina.”
While police were at the home, Ms. Taylor told them Mr. Fargnoli had tried to strangle her during an argument weeks earlier. After learning that Mr. Fargnoli had a firearm in the home, police said they obtained a search warrant and recovered a 9mm handgun with the serial number defaced and ammunition.
Ms.Taylor, who is from Louisiana, said she met Mr. Fargnoli online in March of 2015 and later came to live with him in Massachusetts.