After two months on the lam, the co-owner of the Bushway Packing slaughterhouse in Grand Isle will be arraigned on an animal cruelty charge in Vermont this Thursday.
Frank Perretta, 51, was apparently hiding out at a family house in upstate New York, where the St. Lawrence County sheriff's office caught up with him last Friday. He was extradited to Vermont to face charges associated with the high-profile animal abuse exposed at the slaughterhouse last year.
Bushway was shut down in October after the Humane Society released undercover video showing plant workers abusing day-old veal calves too weak to stand and, in one instance, skinning a calf alive. Perretta is accused of repeatedly shocking a downed calf before pushing it out the door of a truck. A second Bushway employee, Christopher Gaudette,faces a more serious felony animal cruelty charge for shocking downed calf 11 times because he didn't want to bend over to help the animal up.
Perretta, who resides in St. Albans, was picked up at a house on State Highway 37 in Brier Hill, N.Y., according to St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells, and extradited back to Vermont on a fugitive from justice warrant. He turned himself into police and was released on $10,000 bail on the misdemeanor charge. He'll be arraigned at 1 p.m. on Thursday (Aug. 12) in the Grand Isle County Courthouse in North Hero.
Assistant Attorney General David Tartter says Perretta's whereabouts were unknown until about three weeks ago, though he did not provide further details about the search for the fugitive. Tartter would not discuss additional details of exactly where and how Perretta was picked up by police.
The Bushway case and video sparked national outrage, Congressional hearings and reforms at the state level leading to, among other things, money for training slaughter plant employees — a lack of which was partially blamed for the abuse that went on inside Bushway.
Previous Bushway coverage in Seven Days: