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Kansas animal cruelty case dismissed

GIRARD, Kan. _ A court has dismissed charges against a southeast Kansas man accused of starving three bulldogs found in his freezer because the case didn't go to trial quickly enough.

Andrew Romanzi had been charged with four misdemeanor counts of cruelty. The Crawford County District Court dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning the state can't refile the charges.

The charges were dismissed because the Crawford County prosecutor's office failed to bring Romanzi, a rural Pittsburg resident, to trial within 180 days of his first appearance, as required under Kansas law. The case was set for trial one day after the deadline, said Crawford County Attorney John Gutierrez.

"It was a miscalculation on my part and the court's part," Gutierrez said.

The charges stemmed from the July 31, 2007, discovery of three English bulldogs in Romanzi's freezer.

Romanzi had been ordered by a court to return four bulldogs to his ex-wife, Kay Romanzi. When deputies came to Andrew Romanzi's home to retrieve the dogs, he led the deputies to a freezer, where he removed three bags with the carcasses of one dog in each bag, according to authorities.

According to an autopsy, all three of the dogs in the freezer were 10 to 35 pounds underweight.

A fourth bulldog that was returned to the previous owner by Romanzi was 10 pounds underweight.

Crawford County Sheriff Sandy Horton said he was disappointed that the case was dropped.

"When you abuse an animal and do what Mr. Romanzi has allegedly done, you deserve to be put on trial. The dogs that were found in the freezer don't have anyone speaking up for them," Horton said.

He also said that his department did everything it was supposed to do.

"It's up to the sheriff's department to investigate, and we did what we needed to do. It's up to the prosecutors to prosecute."

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Information from: The Morning Sun, http://www.morningsun.net

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