Montclair Couple Charged With Animal Cruelty

A total of 25 criminal and civil NJSA Title 4 animal cruelty summonses were issued to Katelyn Cornell and Donald LaDolce – formerly of Forest Street in Montclair – for allegedly abusing and beating a cat they had adopted from the Montclair PAWS animal shelter, according to the NJ State SPCA Humane Police and Montclair PD.
The couple, facing more than $25,000 in fines, failed to appear in municipal court for arraignment December 18. Bench warrants of $2500 each were issued by the court. Officials say Cornell and LaDolce have fled the state and are now being sought as animal cruelty offenders.


SPCA investigator Corporal Al Peterson told Baristanet the injured cat was taken to veterinarian Dr. George Cameron for emergency treatment. The cat was in shock – bleeding profusely from its mouth and was diagnosed with broken ribs, a broken sternum, and contusions to its lungs. Its injuries were found to be the result of blunt force trauma consistent with the animal being kicked.
An examination of the cat revealed that it had also suffered additional multiple rib fractures, pulmonary contusions and abdominal bleeding, also caused by blunt force trauma and also consistent with the animal being kicked, occurring a few weeks prior to the original injury, says Peterson. The injured cat, which had recently survived a house fire in Nutley along with more than 100 other victimized cats in the home, had only sustained upper respiratory infection in the fire.
The abused cat has survived its injuries, says NJ State SPCA Humane Police, and has found a new home. Anyone with information about this case may call Corporal Peterson at NJ SPCA: 800-582-5979. More details on this story, here.

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71 COMMENTS

  1. Why adopt an animal if you’re going to abuse it? Sometimes I really hate humans. There’s a special place in hell for people like this.

  2. That is just sickening. Thank God that little cat finally found someone to properly care for it, and my heart goes out to the people at PAWS who handled the adoption and follow up. I know how difficult and emotional a job that is.

  3. This cat is one tough hombre. First a house fire and then some psycho owners. Good grief!
    I hope the people that abused this animal are held accountable for this heinious behavior and suffer the harshest penalties provided by law.
    And MM, I think that these people are already occupying a ‘special place in hell’. Their behavior suggests that they are deeply disturbed individuals, probably a couple of junkies or worse.

  4. First and foremost, yes, if the charges are true, this dynamic duo deserves to have “the book” pounded for days on top of both their cruel heads. Followed by a bracing stint in the slammer.
    Second, however, is that the court appearance the two failed to make was more than a week ago. Thus there’s no real immediacy here and the presumed culprits could be in Costa Rica by now for all we know.
    Which makes me wonder in proper turn if there isn’t a sort of “clip file” into which the Baristas dip when in need of an item for what bids fair to be a slow news week. And in said file there’s got to be a tab for “Animal Stories,” since these commonly garner the most outraged sort of posts.
    Sorry to be so cynical, but there you are….

  5. I would love to inflict the same punishment to these two low life’s. These people,These Savages need a taste of their own medicine. You can run but you can’t hide. You deserve everthing you have coming your way.

  6. slow news week? Hamas vs Israel? “Obama the magic N” Canadian Avalanche, Guy shoots another man in Philly for talking in the movie theater?
    its not a slow news week as long as you are getting your news from more than one source

  7. To the best of my eggnog-saturated recollection, Mrs. Martta, the Baristas don’t “do much” with events in the Middle East. With Iraq, yes, they used to (hence the “rise” of laserboy) but not with Israel, Hamas and suchlike, at least not since the demise of Jerry Mosier who traveled the region regularly and posted from there.
    I’m not saying that an item like this one shouldn’t elicit outrage, either. I’m just suggesting the additional element of somewhat cold calculation. During a fortnight or so in which posts in general are already obviously very diminished.

  8. And I will gladly amend to a “slow news week in Baristaville.” (What, you thought the item about an car-vending advertiser was a journalistic necessity?)

  9. cathar,
    You make this complaint so often that I wonder if you just cut and paste your posts with minor editing, changing your reasons why particular stories should or should not be here or challenging motives.
    Could you at least be more creative? Make your complaints in verse or something.
    Sheesh!
    You really are tiresome.

  10. Did anyone catch the Nat Geo “Dogtown” episode about how the Dogtown vets are trying to bring Michael Vick’s pitbulls back to a sense of normalcy? I don’t know if this was a rerun, but I watched about the first half last night and it was kind of inspiring to see the trainers, vets, and caregivers respond to these deeply traumatized animals. I believe I heard during the story that Vick was fined a 1/2 million to pay for the dogs’ treatments — although I bet that is not half enough money.

  11. Are there photos to be had? Will they be appearing on America’s Most wanted or Animal Planet?
    LaDolce has a record:
    Police blotter 04.17
    (by Dan Prochilo – April 18, 2008)
    A driver who cut off a police cruiser while making a left turn on Orange Road was pulled over and arrested, along with his two passengers, and charged with having an illegal handgun stowed in the car, police said.
    An officer was heading northbound on Orange Road when Donald LaDolce III, 21, who was not wearing a seatbelt as he piloted a Pontiac Grand Prix, exited a driveway and pulled out in front of the police car, forcing the officer to make an abrupt stop, according to authorities.
    Noticing that LaDolce wasn?t strapped in, the officer turned around, tailed the car and halted it at Orange Road?s intersection with Hollywood Avenue on Saturday, April 12 shortly after 5 p.m., police said.
    LaDolce said several times that he was nervous when police were questioning him, “even though there was no significant reason to be nervous since he was stopped only for a motor vehicle violation,” according to the police report.
    The driver told officers he was not sure where he was headed, and that one of his passengers, Andre “Dre” Graham, 19, of Montclair, was directing him to an unknown location in either Orange or East Orange, according to investigators.
    Finding the driver?s story and demeanor suspicious, police asked if they could search the car, and LaDolce signed a form giving them consent, police said.
    Inside, officers found a black-and-silver Bryco-Jennings .380-caliber handgun, with its serial number defaced, stashed in the back pouch of the front passenger?s seat, authorities said.
    LaDolce, Graham, and a 17-year-old boy sitting in the backseat were all arrested and charged with possession of a handgun and possession of a defaced firearm. The two adults were held pending the posting of $75,000 cash-only bail. The Essex County Youth Detention Center was notified of the juvenile?s arrest.
    LaDolce was cited for driving offenses, including careless driving, not wearing a seatbelt, and driving an uninsured car.
    “Anytime an illegal handgun is removed from the street, there is a good chance future crimes were prevented,” stated Lt. James Carlucci of the Montclair police. “In all, this was an excellent job by the officers involved.”
    https://www.montclairtimes.com/NC/0/8.html

  12. Ahhh, let’s get it straight there, jimmeytown….it’s not Hamas VS Israel …. It was Israel VS Hamas, as Hamas are the ones that broke the cease fire and sent 300 bombs over into Israel…. to which Israel reacted.

  13. If Israel wants to get ‘bad guys’ then airstrikes are too indiscriminate – too many civilians getting blown to smithereens. They should send over small squads of commandos, via helicopter, into terrorist enclaves and neutralize any persons or infrastructure that pose a threat to Israeli citizenry.
    The Israeli army is one of the finest collections of fighting men and women in the world. Let them show us how good they are and not from the air but on the ground.

  14. Oh- I would have thought that you’d want to discuss the gun toting animal cruelty dude…
    and of course, the fact that
    PAWS is closing on Wednesday

  15. Some crimes really need the court system to get inventive with punishments. If proven guilty I like cathar’s mention of -“the book” pounded for days on top of both their cruel heads.
    It’s simple and appropriate, but can we also include someone kicking them while they are at ground leve a few dozen times? We’ll take them to a vet when its all done.

  16. Well, it doesn’t appear that PAWS vetted this person very well. If a poster on Baristanet can find out in a little more than an hour that LaDolce had a police record, couldn’t someone at PAWS have done the same?

  17. Perhaps their car will get hit by a giant tree as the flee the state on the GSP, or both will mewl in pain as they are hit by a train and the police will not be able to locate a towel large enough for them.

  18. Oh sure blame PAWS Mrs. Martta…do you think they have funds to do back ground checks and google searches on every person that comes through the door. Get real.
    Throw the person that allowed the adoption under the bus…very nice. Don’t you think the person that did the adoption feels awful already! Nice…real nice.
    I guess when you work at the new shelter, Mrs. Martta that you will personally vet all the adoptions and make all 100% perfect adoptions…that is if any of the cats actually remain alive after 7 days.

  19. The”people” who inflected the injuries to the cat should be prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law provides for.
    In no way was I lifting the attention away from the cat.
    I was responding to post #7 – from “jimmeytown” …those that questioned my motives should roll back up to the 7th posting.
    Just setting the record straight, as to what took place over the last 60 hours.
    BTW, I am an animal lover and had dogs for over 32 years, one of which was show quality & won an honorable mention at a Short Hills informal dog show. WOOF MEOW
    Vets are fabulous people and sometimes do not get the high respect that they rightfully deserve.
    They are the ONLY doctors whose patients cannot tell them what is wrong !!
    I truly hop that Gabby will recover and never be subjected to such horrors, and live with loving people.

  20. Nachos: When I adopted my dog, I had to fill out a 3-page questionnaire that included questions such as, “Have you made arrangements for someone to take care of your pet in the event of your demise?” So yeah, there are people who do take the time and effort to learn about about the type(s) of people who will be adopting pets.
    In some states, such as Oregon and Washington, they actually pay visits to potential adoptees’ homes.
    It takes just minutes to run a preliminary Google search on someone to see if they have a police record.
    This is a living being we’re talking about, not an article of clothing or jewelry on loan.

  21. I think 30+ posts (and the forming up of the usual virtual lynch mob) only proves my point, fyi. Or is it that perhaps I’m just better aware of the Baristas’ (small paper) bag of journalistic “tricks?”

  22. do the math…at least 200 cats in the shelter during kitten season …so PAWS should have made house visits to each house…get real.
    PAWS also had an adoption form that was to be filled out for cat adoptions…no question about whether or not you are going to beat the animal for the fun of it…
    Blame PAWS for the beating of the cat…nice, real nice. How many adoptions went without the person beating the cat over the 30 years they were around!!!!
    GEEZ.

  23. Bill Smith, founder of Mainline Animal Rescue in PA, visits every single home of a prospective adopter before a placement is made. His shelter has 150 dogs at one time, so it’s not some small operation, either. He spends two full days a week doing this.

  24. Mrs. Martta, I urge you strongly to get yourself to an animal shelter and volunteer to help with their adoption process. I can assure you that in most instances you will be treated like an angel sent from on high. And once you do that I hope you follow through and help them process adoptions, especially cat adoptions which each month usually far outnumber dog adoptions at most shelters. Work with the prospective adopters and try to read their minds and see into their hearts. Review their form and make the follow up phone calls to the vet, their references, the landlord if they rent to make sure they can have animals. Then make the home visit and when it all checks out after all of the hours you put into the one adoption, and you finally hand over that furbaby you’ve cared for in some cases a year or more try to ignore the horrible feeling you have that no matter what you did up to that point you cannot – EVER – guarantee that animal will live a long happy life with the people who so happily adopted it.
    PAWS and other shelters depend on volunteers to do the scut work, the leg work, the follow up calls, the home visits…people like you and me who have lives and families and jobs and not enough time in their week to do what they need to do for themselves but made that commitment to the shelter and those animals and eke out as much time as they possibly can to do what they can to help rehome animals into responsible, loving families. Trust me, there aren’t that many people who can be counted on month after month, year after year, to do all of the work that needs to be done.
    Instead of blaming the shelter vols for what happened, get down there and help them out. Volunteer, mean it and stick with it and after working there for at least a year see how you feel. Don’t think those volunteers who worked on that adoption aren’t beating themselves up and their hearts aren’t broken by what happened to poor Gabby. Your post was a cheap shot and frankly I’m surprised it came from you.

  25. p.s. I made my prior comment in response to a poster’s comment, and it was not made in any way to slight PAWS…
    and in regards to Cathar’s post– the reason there are so many comments is because this is a topic that stirs alot of emotion in animal lovers like myself

  26. Karen,
    I certainly agree about PAWS selfless volunteers.
    Now Montclair is hiring contractors to pick up dog poop and to clean the cats litter pans – since they have no volunteers to do so.
    Pay Montclair Pay (hartnett’s policy).
    Pay for the hartnett memorial shelter.
    Pay to have those dogs and cats euthanized rather than adopted.

  27. Cathar obviously needs the attention he gets from these posts, sort of like people who torture animals need the attention,,
    Cathar also cant grow a beard as the mayor does it seems…LOL

  28. The snarky comments and cheap shots posted on this blog never cease to amaze me. Instead of sitting in the comfort of your little universe how about getting out there and helping? It is a little harder than pecking away at a keyboard so don’t all rush out at once.

  29. That was an exceptionally loathsome attempt by you, uh, “padre,” to link me to animal cruelty.
    And if you attach wisdom to beards and the need to shave and trim them, it’s probably because your testicles just haven’t descended yet.
    (Is this the type of “emotion” you were seeking from others on this matter, Karen Banda? And you honestly don’t believe that even the “padre’s” post wasn’t a result of some calculation?)

  30. Well said laser. This site would be a lot more enjoyable if some posters would refrain from their nastiness. It’s ok to disagree but the language needs to change. Name calling & insulting should not have a place here.

  31. Well said laser. This site would be a lot more enjoyable if some posters would refrain from their nastiness. It’s ok to disagree but the language needs to change. Name calling & insulting should not have a place here.

  32. Well said laser. This site would be a lot more enjoyable if some posters would refrain from their nastiness. It’s ok to disagree but the language needs to change. Name calling & insulting should not have a place here.

  33. Well said laser. This site would be a lot more enjoyable if some posters would refrain from their nastiness. It’s ok to disagree but the language needs to change. Name calling & insulting should not have a place here.

  34. This site would be more enjoyable if people didn’t hit ‘post’ multiple times!
    Just kidding.. Personally, I think Cathar is one of the reasons this site gets as many hits as it does. I’ve been on the hot end of the poker a couple of times and it hasn’t bothered me. If I don’t like what someone has posted, I just ignore it and move on to the next post. There is tons of really good stuff in here.
    BTW, Cathar’s insults are absolutely first rate. I would feel honored to incur one from time to time.

  35. I didn’t hit post multiple times. My comcast connection was not working properly & I refreshed the screen. Didn’t know it would post again & again.
    I enjoy a good laugh but find nothing first rate about the language often used here.

  36. Mrs. M.’s post was not a cheap shot, she makes a valid point. Karen Banda needs to get off her self-righteous high horse.
    This situation with this poor cat needs to be a wake-up call to PAWS and other shelters. If Google searches are not being done on potential adopters, there is no time like the present to start the practice. No matter how good a shelter’s pre-adoption process is, it can always be be improved upon. Isn’t it better to find out before an animal leaves the shelter that its new owner is charged with animal abuse or cruelty or some other heinous crime?
    PAWS has had other bad cat adoptions–the cat thrown out of the second story window, the cat that was kept in a closet. I was responsible for that second adoption; PAWS got the cat back when the owner was arrested. Perhaps a pre-adoption Google search would have avoided the cat having to endure the horror of being constantly kept in a dark closet. It wasn’t just me who failed the cat; It was the system in place.
    Often times in municipal shelter, it’s more important to free a cage than to ensure a safe refuge. Let’s make tightening up our practices the priority rather than vehemently defending a process that miserably failed one precious animal.

  37. failed one precious animal
    ————————
    Actually, more than one..and there are always the ones you never find out about.

  38. Makes one wonder about which side of door Cathar is swinging through when he talks about men’s testicles ewwwww..nice visual LOL

  39. Makes one wonder about which side of door Cathar is swinging through when he talks about men’s testicles ewwwww..nice visual LOL

  40. “Karen Banda needs to get off her self-righteous high horse.”
    HA! That’s pretty funny considering some of the truly obnoxious posters on this site! And just FYI I am neither “self-rightous” nor do I sit on any “high horse”. I don’t like sitting on any horse specifically because they are, for me, too high.
    Sorry, but I stand by my comments. It’s too easy to sit at a keyboard offering up your pearls of “wisdom” to the people in the trenches. I still challenge you all to put in the time and try the job yourselves for a year or so – if you can stick it out that long. Bottom line is more hands are desperately needed at any animal shelter – so the more the merrier.
    Again, don’t trample each other in your rush to volunteer.

  41. “Actually, more than one..and there are always the ones you never find out about.”
    Thank you Nellie, for making a very important point. You can only find out about people who have been officially charged with animal cruelty. You can Google all you like but you can only find what’s been posted.
    There are too many animal abusers under the radar and as Nellie pointed out ‘there are always the ones you never find out about’.
    Not until it’s too late.

  42. Just to clarify, I’ve volunteered in the trenches at PAWS since March of 2000. So if my comments are directed at people in the trenches, call me trenched!!!That’s why I included the bad adoption I was personally involved with.
    I agree wholeheartedly, Karen, that shelter work is hard work. And if a Google search can eliminate even one bad adoption (as might have happened in the case that started this thread),then it would be well worth it.
    And now I will get off my high horse, leave the trenches of Baristanet, and get some sleep…

  43. “Again, don’t trample each other in your rush to volunteer.”
    Gosh, that attitude is really encouraging to me–NOT! Didn’t you ever learn that you attract more flies with honey than vinegar?
    At any rate, while I, unfortunately, do not have to time to physically volunteer at a shelter, I’ve been donating money every year to various no-kill shelters throughout the metro area, including North Shore, including after Katrina. My DH & I donated a big bag of dry dog food to PAWS this past weekend and nary got a thank you. But, as long as the animals benefit, who cares?

  44. questions:
    Do shelters deny all adoptions when police records are involved? Does having a record mean you can’t take care of an animal?
    Is this couple guilty til proven innocent?

  45. Quoting MM, above “Didn’t you ever learn that you attract more flies with honey than vinegar?”. Quoting Woody, from TV show Cheers in response to that question “..a dead squirrel works best”

  46. PAWS wouldn’t allow me to adopt two cats because I couldn’t guarantee they would always be indoors. My vet had kittens that needed a home and I ended up getting four cats from them. All four are indoor/outdoor cats and are well cared for and will soon be two years old.

  47. My cats were indoor/outdoot until one of them was killed by a car. Now they are indoor only.
    Cats aren’t as ‘dumb ass’ as squirrels, but they tend to ‘streak’ across streets and sometimes their timing is off. Then there are the cats that saunter, almost daring motorists to hit them. Either way, there are way to many hazards in an urban area like ours, to allow any pet unfettered access to the ‘outdoors’.

  48. I also was denied a cat by a no kill shelter because one of my two dogs had not been spayed. The shelter also did not like the idea that I had retired show dogs rather than rescues. I have found that some rescuers sometimes KNOW what’s best for every animal and some animals stay in shelters because they cannot find the ‘perfect’ home. A home where only shelter animals live and everyone abides by shelter rules 100% of the time. We’re not all perfect but sometimes our pets are happy & healthy regardless of the ‘mistakes’ we make.

  49. There’s a guy on our street that lets his dog run loose all the time, even unsupervised. I don’t get it. The dog is a friendly older dog but I would be worried about him being hit by a car.

  50. It’s always tough when a pet dies, but when one is killed by a car it’s much worse than when one dies from natural causes. I’ll never forget the day my cat was killed and the last time I saw him and I think that I was foolish to let him roam like that and that his death was my fault.

  51. Hello!!!!!!!!!!!! I am here to set things straight. First and foremost, I AM A REAL ANIMAL LOVER!! I have lived a good life, a “leave it to beaver life” and I have loved all my animals, rabbits,fish,many cats, dogs, ferrets you name it I have loved and owned it. I have been a volunteer for many years for the SPCA and I still walk dogs on my time off. I own a yellow lovable lab and two cats at the present time. I take my dog to the dog park and he is a big baby. Now for my son!! Yes, Don LaDolce is my son!…. He did NOT do all the above!!! I would be the first to rat him out!!!! We did have crazy crap that happened but the reason my son is NOT in jail is because he was NOT GUILTY!! On both accounts. First of all let me tell you what happened with the gun. My son was home in his pj’s playing video games and his neighbor asked him for a ride. He was nice and said “sure”, as he backed up into the road the police pulled him over and the passager/neighbor that he was driving had the gun! NOT MY SON! Don had no idea he had a gun!! And thank God my son did back out of that driveway and got pulled over or he maybe DEAD TODAY!!!! Second the animal charges happened because MY SON TOOK THE CAT TO THE VET to find out why he was having breathing problems because when he adopted the cat, the cat already had breathing problems from the fire he was in!! The previous owner had already abused this cat and the cat had a pre existing condition! And this is why my son did NOT get charged with any fines and it was all dropped!! I know my son and he loves animals as I do. This was the nightmare from hell and I pray no one has to go thru all we did…

  52. Oh and Penny, Don is not wanted by anyone and yes all the charges have been dropped. So you can just stop putting your nose were it does not belong! Shame on you for acting like this!

  53. According to Al Peterson, both ladolce and cornell were convicted of animal abuse. The cat was in intensive care for 2 months after being brought in by him, it was a current injury according to the spca.
    When something is a public record its everyone’s business even if you don’t agree.

  54. UGH. I hate reading things like this, breaks my heart. There’s a special circle in Hell for people who abuse helpless creatures. When I think of all the joys my pets have brought me over the years, I cannot comprehend cruelty like this.

    I hope this couple’s lives are filled with misery going forward and that they get the max penalty. And I am glad the kitty is all right, considering. Poor thing.

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