Animal associations

Convicted animal abuser challenges Hassan

John Riggieri prepares to run against Maggie Hassan, despite her past legal troubles. Courtesy picture

CONCORD, NH –Sen. Maggie Hassan has a new Democratic contender as she prepares for a close re-election campaign in John Riggieri, the former Marlborough man convicted of animal abuse after 52 Labrador Retrievers were abducted from his home.

Riggieri, 62, who now lives in Concord, has lodged his candidacy in the primary ballot for the September election, although he does not mention his candidacy on his social media pages, nor does he appear to have campaign website.

Contacted via the email listed in his application file, Riggieri confirmed that he was the same man who was convicted of animal abuse in 2019.

“I remain the one and only John Riggieri,” he wrote.

Police seized the dogs from his Marlborough home in 2018 as part of an eviction process triggered by his financial troubles. After a controversial trial, he was found guilty of two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and ordered to return $78,000 to the Monadnock Humane Society, to offset the cost of caring for his dogs. The non-profit has incurred more than $200,000 in expenses to care for its animals.

Riggieri appealed his conviction and eventually agreed to a plea deal that included no jail time if he allowed the remaining 50 dogs to be adopted into new homes. Two of the dogs died shortly after being removed from his home due to illness.

Riggieri did not give a coherent explanation as to why he wants to run against Hassan as a Democrat, during an email exchange on Thursday. He quoted the Bible and Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Riggieri appears opposed to US support for Israel’s defense system known as the Iron Dome. He also speculated on Russian invasions of Ukraine and said former President Donald Trump could end the war.

“Sloppy Joe Biden needs to forgive Donald Trump ASAP and enlist him as special envoy to Russia and I believe the war in Ukraine will end in less than 90 days,” Riggieri wrote.

Police say Riggieri’s dogs lived in filth at his Marlborough home and some of the puppies kept in a bathtub were injured, court records show.

His attorney, Keith Matthews, said during the sentencing hearing that Riggieri was philosophically opposed to neutering and neutering animals.

Riggieri first tried to get help with the dogs in the months before they were taken, Matthews told the court. Riggieri contacted the Monadnock Humane Society to consider giving some of the animals up for adoption, but ultimately refused because the shelter wanted to have the dogs spayed and spayed.

As part of his sentence, Riggieri is banned from keeping animals as pets for the next 10 years. After this period, he can have a cat or a dog, but this animal must be castrated or castrated, according to the penalty. When the sentence was handed down, Riggieri asked if he could instead keep a dog that had had a vasectomy. This request was refused.

Matthews did not respond to a request for comment on the Senate race.