Woman accused of stealing pit bull from panhandler faces judge

Meatball. Courtesy of Guy Settipane.

By: News Staff


NEWPORT, R.I. – A former Jamestown councilwoman accused of stealing a pit bull from a Newport panhandler faced a judge on Tuesday.

The former councilwoman’s attorney Guy Settipane told ABC6 News Szepatowski has known the homeless owner for years and has taken care of the dog, known as Meatball, when the owner could not provide adequate food and shelter.

Meatball was officially given Szepatowski on October 31st, 2016 but on Friday the owner decided that that’s not necessarily true, and asked for the return of Meatball.

Szepatowski told the owner she would return the dog, but only if Meatball was properly cared for, out of the harsh cold, and not used as a prop while panhandling.

Unfortunately, word spread and Meatball was seen with his owner panhandling on Admiral Kalbfus Rd. in Newport.

Szepatowski was alerted and she took Meatball back, but on Sunday was advised that if she didn’t return Meatball to his owner she would face charges.

During her court appearance, Szepatowski was awarded custody of Meatball until further notice.

Szepatowski will be back in court in March.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017