Ex-Kiss axeman Vinnie slams reports of animal cruelty circulated after his arrest – but won’t discuss his human cruelty charges
Former Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent has slammed claims of animal cruelty following his arrest last month on suspicion of assault.
The 58-year-old says four dead dogs were found on his property because he hadn’t had a chance to bury them. He explains he’s spent years providing shelter to any and all animals he found who needed it, and he’d never be violent towards his “babies.”
But he doesn’t discuss the aggravated assault charges pressed after police believed he’d attacked his wife and dragged her through broken glass.
Vincent, real name Cusano, says: “My dogs and cats have been, are and will be the most important thing in my whole life. I love them more than words can say – I look at them as ‘perfect little people’ that I believe God gifted to us to help comfort us through our lives, which always seem to be filled with pain in one way or another.
“I have 20 dogs rescued since 1999 from unspeakable abuse. I never turned my back if a dog or cat needed a loving home. Each one of them is spoiled rotten: great food, love, comfort, care and shelter. They sit wish me when I watch videos or when I play my guitar – the sound seems to fascinate them.
“I would never harm any animal – they are God’s most beautiful and innocent of creations. I’m a vegetarian because of my respect for all animals.”
He explains his big and small dogs are fenced off from each other for safety, but the larger animals managed to break free and killed three of the smaller ones before he could stop them.
“I was shattered – too devastated for words,” Vincent says. “I will never get over it and will always live with a pain greater than anything I will ever know. I wrapped them each in blankets and laid them to rest in ‘caskets’ where I made a cross and wrote the words to Danny Boy on each.
“The weather had been pretty bad here for a while. An excavator was to come to the property to dig up the ground so I could give them a proper burial when this terrible thing happened.”
The “terrible thing” took place on May 21. Deputy Joseph May of Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee told Rock News Desk how Vincent’s wife Diane Cusano appealed for help after leaving the couple’s home covered in blood.
May said: “Diane stated she and her husband Vincent Cusano had gotten into an argument about a female he was talking to. She stated Vincent became verbally abusive, swearing and telling her to ‘Get the fuck out of the house”.
“Diane stated that Vincent then smacked her in the face. She stated he grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground, then dragged her through a pile of glass from a broken plate. She stated he threw her on the ground a total of four times before he let her get up and she drove to the sheriff’s office.”
Vincent continues: “You must know my domestic situation is a private matter that I cannot comment on at this time. Please don’t believe everything you read. I would never hurt anyone – ever. What has been reported is an absolutely inaccurate depiction of the events that occurred that evening. When it’s time, the truth will be known.”
But he adds the drama has had a “silver lining” because it put a “long-lost family back together” and “for that, it’s worth what I’m going through.”
He says: “I’m an immensely private person and these events have caused me great pain and emotional anguish. I am requesting that you respect my privacy and that of my family during this difficult time and not engage in harmful useless gossip posted on blogs and forums.”
Vincent was known as the The Wiz and the Ankh Warrior when he replaced original guitarist Ace Frehley in Kiss in 1982. He had a tumultuous relationship with the band and was fired the following year, only to be re-hired for two more brief stints in the following years. He formed Vinnie Vincent Invasion in 1984, which released two albums before splitting in 1988. He put out a solo album in 1996.
He’s due to appear in court on June 23 to answer the charge of aggravated assault.