Bridgeville man says he killed puppy, faces charges

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A Bridgeville man told police he killed his girlfriend's puppy Sunday afternoon because the animal would not behave before the broadcast of the Steelers game.

William Woodson, 22, was being held on $25,000 bail in the Allegheny County Jail, on a charge of animal cruelty.

The puppy, a 13-week-old pit bull named Flip, had been the focal point of recent arguments between Mr. Woodson and his girlfriend, Christine Gielarowski, 21, with whom Mr. Woodson lives on Jane Way.

Sandy Marion, who lives on Union Street, said she saw Ms. Gielarowski with the dog just before the start of the Steelers game.

"I saw her down at the gas station, and she was playing with this little black puppy," Ms. Marion said last night. "It had this little gold ribbon around its neck, you know, like Steeler colors? And she was dressed in Steeler colors. And she was walking it, and I thought, 'How sweet.' "

About 20 minutes later, Ms. Marion was in her home with her boyfriend, M. Belcastro, when they heard a woman screaming outside.

"I was just grabbing a beer because the game was going to start, and I heard the girl screaming and wailing," Mr. Belcastro said. "I looked out the window and she was on her knees, and I see this 6-foot man launch something. To me, it looked like -- this sounds ridiculous -- but it looked like a bowling ball with rags attached to it. Bingedy, bangedy, boom, 20 or 25 feet.

"I thought, well, it can't be a bowling ball with rags attached to it. It must be a backpack or something like that with something important to her inside it.

"So I run down there and [Mr. Woodson was] moving up the hill pretty quickly. And then I realize it was a little dog. It was the size of a loaf of bread. I yelled for him to 'Come here!' but he kept going."

Mr. Woodson went up over the hill to the home of Gilbert Maldonado, 24, a friend who had invited him over to watch the Steelers game. Meanwhile, Mr. Belcastro and Ms. Marion tried to assist Ms. Gielarowski.

"The dog did not make a sound," said Ms. Marion, who got a box from her home for the dog. "It wasn't breathing. It was horrible. It was the saddest thing I've seen.

"Just about everybody on this street owns a pet. And they walk their dogs and you see them and say hello."

Ms. Marion, who owns four cats, said she offered to take the dog to a veterinarian, but Ms. Gielarowski refused because she and her boyfriend were docking the animal's tail, meaning they had tied it off in an attempt to shorten it.

"[Ms. Gielarowski] was confused, upset and scared," Mr. Belcastro said. "She didn't know what to do, so we called the police."

When police arrived, Ms. Gielarowski initially gave them a false name and refused to identify her boyfriend. Eventually, however, she gave her real name and police contacted her parents to learn Mr. Woodson's name.

Police were told Mr. Woodson was at Mr. Maldonado's home and called Mr. Maldonado's mother in an attempt to reach him.

"I got a phone call from my mom stating that the police were coming over here," Mr. Maldonado said. "I told Will, and he went out the door, and as soon as he walks out, he gets arrested. I asked the officer what was the reason, and he said, 'Cruelty to animals.'

"I was shocked. I didn't know anything about it. It didn't sound like him, and he seemed totally normal," Mr. Maldonado said. "I said, 'You're lying.' That's the exact words I told the cop, 'You're lying.'

"If it is true, it's a stupid mistake," he said. "Everybody makes mistakes. If anything, it was a fit of rage. But that doesn't make it right."

Mr. Woodson declined to acknowledge the reading of his rights as he was arrested, but while waiting in the cruiser at the police station, he spoke, unsolicited, with one of the officers.

According to the affidavit, Mr. Woodson said he argued with Ms. Gielarowski about buying the dog.

"He admitted the dog would not behave prior to the Steelers game, and that he became upset at it," according to the affidavit.

Ms. Gielarowski still may face charges for giving police a false name and address and initially refusing to cooperate, officials said.


Jim McKinnon can be reached at jmckinnon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1939. Dan Majors can be reached at dmajors@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1456.


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