Mitchell Marsicano, 55, is led out of Long Beach city...

Mitchell Marsicano, 55, is led out of Long Beach city court after being arraigned on charges of sexually assaulting a dog. (Oct. 22, 2010) Credit: James Carbone

A Long Beach landlord pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge that he had sex with his pet dog.

Police arrested the landlord, Mitchell Marsicano, on Friday after a tenant a day earlier caught him in the act and called the authorities, police records say, and investigators took the dog to a veterinary hospital for an examination.

Charges against Marsicano, 55, include misdemeanor sexual abuse of an animal and felony burglary. He was arraigned at Long Beach City Court.

Marsicano is charged with burglary because he is alleged to have gone upstairs into the tenant's apartment to engage in the act with the dog, prosecutors said.

After his court appearance, Marsicano spoke briefly as he was being led to a police car, denying the allegations of his activity with the dog. He told reporters that the tenant who told police he had witnessed the sexual activity didn't pay the rent.

Outside the courtroom, the tenant, Daniel Miller, said the dog is a 4-year-old male Shiba Inu who was in his apartment because he often would care for the dog. Miller, 39, attended the arraignment.

Miller, asked about Marsicano's accusation of nonpayment of rent, said that he and his roommate pay $1,500 rent per month and they have made payments on time.

Mitchell Marsicano, 55, of Long Beach, N.Y., is accused of...

Mitchell Marsicano, 55, of Long Beach, N.Y., is accused of breaking into the upstairs apartment of a house he owned and engaging in sexual misconduct with a dog. Credit: AP

Marsicano's criminal defense attorney, Leslie Shamis of Long Beach, declined to comment.

Jed Painter, the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, said the dog was being kept at the Freeport Animal Shelter.