Alexandria man charged with trying to poison neighbors' dogs over 'loud barking'

An Alexandria man was caught on camera throwing what investigators say was chunks of meat stuffed with rat poison into his neighbor's yard over "loud barking" from their dogs. 

Heather Dinsmore says the target was her three rescue dogs, Frankie, Igor and Chester. 

"My dogs bark, they are dogs. But we don't leave them outside. We don't leave them unattended. Half the time we're not home because we're up in New Jersey," said Dinsmore. 

Luckily, none of the dogs ingested any of the meat. Dinsmore told FOX5 she was away from her home in Del Ray, Alexandra visiting family in New Jersey earlier this month when she checked her home's security camera to see their next-door neighbor in their driveway. 

Image 1 of 4

Photo via Heather Dinsmore

"He had a plastic bag in his hand and started breaking something apart in the bag and then throwing stuff into the yard," said Dinsmore. "We were all shocked." 

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria says they recovered a substance from the meat "that is suspected of containing some form of toxin." Laboratory tests are still pending. 

The neighbor, identified as John Romano, turned himself in to the authorities on Monday in connection to class 1 misdemeanor charges, according to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. 

Romano also reportedly left a note of apology in their mailbox, saying he had been "bothered by loud barking for a long time," but saying it was "no excuse" for "tossing tainted meat" into their yard. 

Image 1 of 5

Photo via Heather Dinsmore

"We do not accept his apology if you call that letter an apology.  And I think reading that letter, he's just sorry he got caught and not sorry for what he tried to do," said Dinsmore. 

"This is not the neighborhood to be in if you don't like dogs because almost every house here has dogs," said Bob Miller, who lives across the street from the Dinsmores with their dogs Riley and Sofie. "We all feel horrified because attacking a dog that's a defenseless creature is like attacking a child.  It's sad."