On February 1, Manhattan resident Joseph Graves, 30, was arrested by ASPCA Special Agent Omar Negrillo for brutally beating and blinding his girlfriend's 6-pound Yorkshire Terrier with a belt. Graves had been pet sitting the 4-year-old pup, named Emmet, while his girlfriend, a Broadway actress, was on tour in Florida.
On January 16, at approximately 5:30 A.M., Graves lost his temper after the dog allegedly misbehaved while getting ready for his morning walk. When confronted about the incident, Graves told ASPCA investigators that the dog's actions caused him to go into a rage and beat him with a belt buckle and kick him.
Despite Emmet's serious injuries, including an eye hemorrhage, Graves waited two days before taking the tiny pup to a veterinary hospital. He was finally treated at the West Chelsea Veterinary Hospital for six broken ribs, multiple contusions, bruised kidneys and internal hemorrhaging—he also underwent surgery to have his left eye removed. Suspicious of the dog's critical injuries, the hospital staff contacted the ASPCA for assistance.
"The dog suffered traumatic injuries and could have easily died if the suspect had waited much longer," says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for the Humane Law Enforcement Department. "This pet was nearly killed because this person couldn't control his temper—it's inexcusable."
Graves was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, a felony, and criminal mischief. He is currently released on $2,000 bail, and is due back in court on April 27.
Emmet is currently recovering with a relative of his pet parent.
If you know of an animal who is being hurt, please report it. To report animal cruelty in New York City, call the ASPCA's tip line at (877) THE-ASPCA. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty elsewhere.