Protest planned ahead of trial for man accused of killing girlfriend's dog

Protesters outside court ahead of trial for man accused of killing dog

MALDEN, Mass. — A group is planning to protest outside Malden District Court Wednesday morning ahead of an animal cruelty trial nearly eight months in the making.

Prosecutors allege 31-year-old Steven Severino of Peabody, beat his girlfriend's dog to death last September. At the time, police said neighbors heard the dog, Coco, crying in the backyard of his girlfriend's Everett home. When officers arrived, they found Severino inside the home with Coco's dead body slumped over him, according to court documents. Authorities said the dog had a broken jaw and severe injuries.

Severino has pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges and was released on $150 bail at his arraignment.

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The group “Justice for Coco,” which describes its mission on Facebook as dedicated to ensuring the strongest punishment for animal abuse allowed by law, gathered at the courthouse ahead of the expected Wednesday start of Severino’s trial.

Later in the morning, a court clerk said the trial was moved to May 23.