Batavia man accused of starving, neglecting puppy was in court Tuesday
Suspected puppy abuser Brandon Joseph Welch was in Batavia City Court Tuesday afternoon for discovery and pretrial motions in his case.
The 23-year-old, who lived at an apartment on East Main Street in the city at the time of his arrest Oct. 18 (above photo), is charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree (for claiming he found the starving puppy); torturing/injuring/not feeding an animal; and owning/harboring an unlicensed dog -- all misdemeanors.
He was also charged with making a terroristic threat, a Class D felony, for allegedly threatening to shoot the next police officer who showed up at his home. The status of that charge is unclear because of difficulties the prosecution has had with getting two witnesses, who live out of the area, to travel to Batavia to testify.
That was why bail for the felony was moot at Welch's last court appearance Oct. 25 when City Court Judge Robert Balbick set Welch's bail at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond solely on the misdemeanors.
At some point, Welch got out on bail; he sat with a buddy at the back of the gallery Tuesday until his case was called after 2:30 p.m. He stood with his private counsel Frank Ciardi before Judge Balbick; Welch was clad in a long-sleeved, medium-blue dress shirt and dark gray pants, his brown hair in a burr cut and beard neatly clipped.
Ciardi told the judge they would like the case "to come to a disposition" (rather than go to trial).
First District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini said she is not sure of the terms or status of plea negotiations with District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and must confer with him about it.
"The sooner we can resolve this the better," Balbick said.
The next court appearance is set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29.
The emaciated 9.2-pound pit bull mix pup -- named "Opal" by the Volunteers for Animals at the shelter -- was found roadside by a Good Samaritan in Stafford on Oct. 4. Welch was arrested after a tip to police.
Opal was nursed back to health by vets and volunteers and subsequently adopted.
Three other animals in Welch's care were seized from his home -- a bearded dragon lizard and two other mixed-breed dogs.
Welch is not liable for vet and shelter bills for the animals because he forefeited ownership of them.
No name calling.