The Calgary Humane Society began investigating Jan. 9 when a starved dog was found dead with tape around its muzzle. A dead cat was found in the same area a week later with green painter's tape covering most of its face.
An examination at a veterinarian's office determined the dog suffered chronic malnourishment before its death. The cat had been strangled and had injuries to its head, tail and hind limbs.
"On the face of it this appears to be intentional cruelty and not the average abuse-type case where someone gets really mad at an animal for house soiling or something and loses their temper," Brad Nichols, manager of cruelty investigations for the humane society, said Monday.
"This was methodical. It was chronic and ended in the animals' deaths."
Police arrested 19-year-old Nicolino Ivano Camardi on the weekend at his family's home. He is facing charges of wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.
A search warrant was served on the home Jan. 24 and some seized items were sent away for forensic comparison. The results led to the arrest, Nichols said.
"The public outcry in this case was warranted as were the resources that we sank into it," said Nichols. "Yes, it did take four months, but at the end of the day we were thorough and were happy with the package we were able to put together."
Nichols said the dog and the cat were obtained through Kijiji two or three months before they were found dead. Another live cat found living in the home Saturday was seized as well. There were other people living in the home but they weren't charged.
The humane society released a photograph of the accused.
"It's important that those who might be taking in Mr. Camardi or selling an animal to Mr. Camardi be aware of who Mr. Camardi is," said Nichols.
Some on social media suggested the accused "die a painful death," while others suggested he be suffocated like the animals, but police weren't worried about vigilantism.
"We do appeal to the public to have faith in the investigators ... and to let justice prevail in this circumstance," said acting Staff Sgt. Lloyd Soltys.
"I have full confidence in this system and .. these allegations will be handled appropriately by the justice system."
The charges carry a maximum sentence of 18 months if the Crown proceeds via summary conviction or up to five years in prison if it proceeds through indictment.
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