Man Accused of Pouring Gasoline on Rabbit Charged With Arson, Animal Cruelty

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - An Albany man is facing arson and animal cruelty charges after police claim he doused a pet rabbit with gasoline while setting his ex-girlfriend’s back porch on fire.

Thumper is one very lucky rabbit after police say someone tried to burn down a porch with Thumper inside it.

Anthony Pigliavento showed the damage outside his first-floor apartment on Providence Street to NEWS10 ABC’s Anya Tucker.

“He started to put the gasoline inside here,” Pigliavento said. “The rabbit was right here in the cage and he came through and doused the whole back porch with gasoline and ignited it.”

The human residents were also in jeopardy.

One flight up, Natish Bhardwaj says it was his roommate’s dog that alerted him to the growing danger downstairs.

“He was at the door just sniffling and squealing.”

Help came in the form of heavy rain which kept the flames from spreading, even before the firefighters arrived.

“The fire department said there could have been an explosion,” Pigliavento said.

Thumper, who Anthony says is a rescue bunny is okay. He’s now residing on the front porch taking in plenty of fresh air.

Albany Police say the fire was the work of a scorned boyfriend that Marcus Rios of Albany was targeting his ex-girlfriend, one of Anthony’s roommates.

Pigliavento says the two have had a stormy on and off again relationship.

“He was not allowed near the house. I was at my camp in Vermont with my girlfriend. He knows he’s not welcome here,” Pigliavento said.

“If you’re arguing with your girlfriend it’s one thing but to take it out on people upstairs who have nothing to do with this is kind of crazy to me,” Bhardwaj said.

Rios pleaded not guilty to charges of arson, reckless endangerment and cruelty to animals.

His family bailed him out of jail, but the court says there’s an order of protection for all the victims involved.


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