Convicted animal abuser challenges Hassan

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John Riggieri is gearing up to run against Maggie Hassan, despite his past legal issues. Courtesy Photo

CONCORD, NH –Sen. Maggie Hassan has a new Democratic competitor as she gets ready for a tight reelection campaign in John Riggieri, the former Marlborough man convicted of animal abuse after 52 Labrador Retrievers were taken from his home.

Riggieri, 62, who now lives in Concord, filed to be on the primary ballot for the September election, though he does not mention his candidacy on his social media pages, nor does he appear to have a campaign website.

Contacted via the email listed in his candidate filing, Riggieri confirmed he is the same man who was convicted of animal abuse in 2019.

“I remain the one and the only John Riggieri,” he wrote.

Police seized the dogs from his Marlborough home in 2018 as part of an eviction process triggered by his financial troubles. After a contentious trial he was convicted on two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $78,000 to the Monadnock Humane Society, in order to compensate for the cost of caring for his dogs. The non-profit incurred more than $200,000 in expenses taking care of his animals.

Riggieri appealed his conviction, and eventually accepted a plea agreement that included no jail time if he allowed the 50 remaining dogs to be adopted out to new homes. Two of the dogs died soon after they were removed from his home due to illness.

Riggieri did not give a coherent explanation as to why he wants to run against Hassan as a Democrat, during an email exchange on Thursday. He did quote the Bible, and Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Riggieri seems to be opposed to U.S. support for the Israeli defense system known as the Iron Dome. He also speculated about Russia’s invasions of Ukraine and said former President Donald Trump could end the war.

“Sloppy Joe Biden needs to Pardon Donald Trump ASAP and enlist him as a Special Envoy to Russia and I believe the Ukraine War will end in less than 90 Days,” Riggieri wrote.

Police say the Riggieri’s dogs were living in filth in his Marlborough home, and that some of the puppies kept in a bathtub were injured, according to court records.

His defense attorney, Keith Matthews, said during the sentencing hearing that Riggieri is philosophically opposed to neutering and spaying animals.

Riggieri initially tried to get help with the dogs in the months before they were taken, Matthews said in court. Riggieri reached out to the Monadnock Humane Society to see about giving up some of the animals for adoption, but he ultimately refused to do it because the shelter wanted to have the dogs spayed and neutered.

As part of his sentence, Riggieri is blocked from keeping any animals as pets for the next 10 years. After that time, he may have one cat or one dog, but that animal must be spayed or neutered, according to the sentence. When the sentence was imposed, Riggieri asked if he could instead keep a dog that had had a vasectomy. That request was denied.

Matthews did not respond to a request for comment on the Senate run.

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Damien Fisher

Damien Fisher is a freelance reporter and publisher of