‘A very horrific scene.’ Wilton man accused of brutally killing uncle’s dog  

Warning: this story contains graphic details
A Wilton man is accused of brutally killing his uncle’s 3-year-old German shepherd and leaving the dog’s body in the woods. Domenico Zaccone, 22, is charged with malicious wounding or killing of an animal, which is a felony animal cruelty charge. Wilton police arrested Zaccone Wednesday, alleging that last summer he intentionally hurt, neglected and restrained the dog, causing the animal to suffer for an extended period, according to Zaccone’s arrest warrant.
The investigation began on Aug. 22 when police responded to Zaccone’s house on Own Home Avenue for a report of a person in distress. Zaccone had locked himself in a bathroom and his family was concerned he’d hurt himself, according to his warrant. Police said Zaccone ended up being hospitalized.
“In the course of that investigation, we began to learn that there was a dog that was missing and there was concern for the dog's well-being,” Dep. Chief Robert Cipolla told News 12.
Zaccone had been watching his uncle’s dog, Paco. When police questioned Zaccone, he said, "something horrible happened" but would not elaborate or answer further questions about Paco, the warrant said.
“We obtained search warrants for the residence as well as the adjoining properties and began an intensive search to locate the dog,” Cipolla said.
Inside the home, police found a large suspected dried blood stain on the hardwood floor where the kennel was kept, according to the warrant. They also discovered a bow rake with a steel head that was covered in dog hair with a wet spot on the head, the warrant said. It was a couple days before police found Paco dead in the woods.
“The property in which we were searching was seven acres of property, and it abutted up to a state property that was an additional 30 acres where ultimately we located the animal,” Cipolla said. “And it was just, you know, a very horrific scene.”
Paco was restrained to a tree by three different collars tied all together, a configuration that would have prevented the dog from moving away, according to the warrant. Paco had “sticks shoved up each nostril” and “a large stab wound (approximately 2") to his torso," the warrant said. There were also "puncture wounds to his neck and face areas," which police said were consistent with the dog likely being struck with the steel tines of the rake they found. The warrant stated, "Paco's feet appeared rubbed raw as if Paco was bound or dragged,” and a branch was between the collars and Paco's neck, which police surmised, "could have been used in the fashion of a tourniquet to choke Paco."
The veterinarian who did the autopsy concluded that Paco likely did not die quickly, according to the warrant. 
“There was claims early on that it was self-defense, but injuries that the suspect had weren't consistent,” Cipolla told News 12.
The warrant stated Zaccone had a laceration on his hand and a scratch on his arm but nothing matching an attack. He told family that Paco attacked him so he hurt the dog badly and put him in the kennel, then killed the dog the next day so he wouldn't suffer.
A family friend who spoke with police said she never saw Zaccone be cruel towards Paco, but she also described Paco as a loveable dog who wasn’t aggressive toward people, the warrant said.
Zaccone's uncle declined to comment to News 12, calling it a hard situation. News 12 also reached out to Zaccone's attorney for a statement but did not hear back yet.
Zaccone was arraigned in Stamford Superior Court last week and is out on $25,000 bond. He’s due back in court Jan. 31.