Backyard animals in Sorrento become criminal case

Pigs roam on Marc Calcia's property in Sorrento on Jan. 5.
Photo courtesy of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Pigs roam on Marc Calcia's property in Sorrento on Jan. 5.
By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 01, 2011, at 6:49 p.m.

SORRENTO, Maine — A local man who is facing multiple criminal and civil charges related to how he keeps and feeds his animals also has been cited for state environmental violations at his Fuller Road home.

Marc David Calcia, 44, has come under scrutiny from neighbors and state and local officials for the way he maintains the property at 84 Fuller Road, where he lives. Calcia’s neighbors have complained that pigs and goats he owns have wandered onto adjacent properties and caused damage by rooting up a lawn and destroying fruit trees. They also have complained to state and local officials that Calcia has provided food to his animals by dumping food waste from his garbage collection business on the grounds.

The criminal and civil charges against Calcia include criminal threatening, violating conditions of release, and multiple counts of animal cruelty and animal trespass. The charges of criminal threatening and violating conditions of release are connected to a dispute Calcia has had with neighbors about the degree to which he maintains control of his animals. Calcia’s criminal record in Maine includes two misdemeanor reckless conduct convictions stemming from a 2002 incident in Pittsfield in which he fired a gun at his brother-in-law.

Calcia is expected to go to trial in March on the criminal charges in Hancock County Superior Court, according to court officials.

William Butler of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s solid waste management division said Monday that the alleged environmental violations stem from how Calcia has dealt with waste from his garbage collection business.

Butler said Calcia has kept garbage collected through his garbage-hauling business on his property for more than 48 hours, a violation of state environmental laws. By keeping garbage in his collection truck and in bins on his property for longer than 48 hours, he allegedly is using his residential property as an unlicensed dump, the DEP official indicated. Collected garbage is supposed to be delivered to a licensed collection site within 48 hours of being picked up, he said.

“You are operating an unlicensed solid waste storage facility on the property site,” Butler wrote in a notice of violation that was sent to Calcia on Jan. 7, 2011. The alleged violation stemmed from an unannounced inspection of Calcia’s property that Butler conducted on Jan. 5.

Butler said Monday that Calcia told DEP officials he didn’t have the money to pay for having the garbage disposed at a licensed site.

“He said he can’t afford it,” Butler said.

When contacted by the Bangor Daily News by phone on Tuesday, Calcia denied using his property as an unlicensed solid waste storage facility. Some of the trash stored in bins on his property is his personal household trash, which he is allowed to keep for more than 48 hours, he said.

“Within a day or two, we get to the dump,” Calcia said of the waste collected by his garbage business.

According to Butler, Calcia has been accused of dumping collected garbage on a neighbor’s property and, after sorting through it, taking food waste from the garbage back to his property to feed his animals. The neighbor had allowed Calcia to park his vehicles on his property but did not know that Calcia allegedly was dumping garbage there as well, Butler said.

Butler said the wintry conditions have prevented DEP from investigating the neighbors’ claim.

“There’s not any sense in walking out there with 2 feet of snow on the ground,” Butler said. “We need to wait until we get rid of the snow and then take it from there.”

Calcia denied using the neighbor’s property as an illegal garbage dump.

“We haven’t dumped garbage on the neighbor’s property,” Calcia said Tuesday.

According to Butler, DEP also had learned that Calcia was operating uninsured trucks as part of his garbage collection business, which also violates DEP rules. Calcia since has renewed the insurance on his garbage trucks, he said, thereby avoiding another violation.

In a DEP report about a subsequent Jan. 19 inspection of Calcia’s property, Butler wrote that Calcia still had not addressed the issue of how long he has been storing collected waste on his property.

The animal and garbage handling claims against Calcia are similar to others he faced in the late 1990s in Massachusetts, where he was accused of animal cruelty and accumulating trash on his property, and in Pittsfield, where neighbors complained in late 1999 that Calcia’s animals frequently wandered onto adjacent properties. Calcia recently denied that any of his animals trespassed on his neighbors’ properties when he lived in Pittsfield.

According to reports published more than a decade ago in the Telegram & Gazette newspaper of Worcester, Mass., Calcia’s farming operations in Princeton, Mass., attracted official attention in 1998 after 10 dead animals were found on his farm on Sterling Road. Around the same time, neighbors complained of a pungent odor coming from the property, apparently caused by nearly 55 tons of clam and quahog bellies that Calcia was using to feed his pigs, according to the newspaper.

Calcia was accused of animal cruelty charges and ordered by officials to clean up his property, the Telegram & Gazette stories indicate. The newspaper also reported that Calcia was ordered in 1999 by a Superior Court judge in Massachusetts to stop accepting trash, waste and garbage at the Sterling Road property.

In Maine in 2006, the towns of Palmyra and Carmel each fired Calcia as its trash collector after residents complained of poor and inconsistent service.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/02/01/news/dep-investigating-sorrento-mans-garbage-collection/ printed on December 17, 2014