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Five charged in turtle beating

Fri, Jul 24th 2015 10:05 am

All five of those believed to be involved in the brutal beating of a snapping turtle at a party in Wolcottsville have been located and face charges for their actions, according to the SPCA of Niagara County.

Nicholas Paolucci, 18 of Akron, the fifth and final individual seen in video footage of the incident, which took place July 6, confessed to his involvement July 17, according to the SPCA.

Paolucci used a baseball bat to repeatedly strike the turtle, then handed the bat to Mitchell MacPeek, 19, of Royalton, who could be seen hitting the animal in the video that was released to the public.

Paolucci can be seen in a video not released to the public. The SPCA was able to rely on eyewitness accounts to identify Paolucci as the fifth person involved in the incident.

The large turtle was picked up on Cedar Road in Newstead and transported to a party at a residence on Royalton Center Road in Wolcottsville, where it was repeatedly stabbed with a pitch fork, beaten with a baseball bat, stabbed again and thrown into a fire.

MacPeek, Paolucci, Mark Paolucci, 17 of Akron, and Jacob McKenna, 18, of Akron, all face misdemeanor animal cruelty charges and DEC violations. Ryan Rosenberg, 18, of Akron also faces DEC violations for picking up the turtle and bringing it to the party.

"The Niagara County SPCA would like to express our gratitude to the media who provided the necessary coverage to bring these individuals to justice, to the public for stepping up, and sharing this information so we were able to receive statements incriminating those involved, and to Officer Bill Heine and the Erie County SPCA for all of their help during the investigation," said SPCA Executive Director Amy Lewis.

"Without the help of everyone involved, we would not be able to let these individuals involved know that cruelty to animals will not be tolerated and that the SPCA is here for the protection of all animals regardless of whether they are companion or wild."

The case will be heard in Royalton Town Court.

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