New Scotland man arrested for biting officer

Michele Salerno

NEW SCOTLAND — During a traffic stop on June 30, Guilderland Police say Officer Robert Bailey was assaulted and bitten by Michele Salerno.

Salerno, 54, of 707 Altamont-Voorheesville Road in New Scotland, has been in contact with the Guilderland Police frequently over the last several years due to his complaints and allegations of neighbors’ dogs coming onto his property and attacking his fowl.

He spoke to The Enterprise in January, after shooting his neighbor’s collie. He was not charged in the dog’s death because the state’s Agricultural and Markets Law authorizes an owner to shoot if a dog attacks or threatens a companion animal, farm animal, or domestic animal. Salerno said the collie killed his duck and had the duck in its mouth at the time he shot it.

He could not be reached for comment this week.

Salerno, who was born and raised in Italy, works as a general contractor and derives both income and pleasure from his birds. He said in January that he regards many of his birds as pets and spoke about them with great passion.

Salerno has tried using the law to protect his birds, to little avail. Representing himself in court, he added up the losses, figuring, for example, the 240 eggs per year a chicken produces — his are free range — and calculated the loss at $9,000. When he sued to recover $3,000, he said the judge cracked a joke, asking if he had the chicken that laid a golden egg, and awarded him just $100.

During the traffic stop on June 30, at about 7 p.m., Salerno, a passenger, exited the vehicle and confronted Officer Bailey, going against the officer’s orders to return to the car, according to the release from the Guilderland Police Department.

The release goes on to say that, while Bailey was attempting to handcuff Salerno after placing him under arrest, Salerno resisted, assaulting and biting the officer.

Guilderland Police Chief Carol Lawlor said Wednesday that reports of people biting an officer aren’t frequent, but they do happen.

“It’s usually when an officer has to arrest someone,” she said, “or has to break up a fight.”

Salerno was charged with third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree assault, both felonies; and resisting arrest and second-degree obstructing governmental administration, both misdemeanors.

He was remanded to Albany County’s jail in lieu of $4,000 bail.

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