Last year, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested a Staten Island man after he threw his friend’s cat off an eighth-floor balcony. This week justice was served.
Buriell Jones, 57, pleaded guilty to felony aggravated cruelty to animals, the top count against him, and was sentenced Monday to four months in jail. He is also no longer allowed to own an animal.
This despicable act occurred on Oct. 2, 2012, after Jones began arguing with his friend. Jones eventually threw the cat — a seven-year-old black-and-white Domestic Shorthair—from the apartment balcony on Broad Street in Staten Island.
Unfortunately, when ASPCA Agents arrived, the cat had already passed away. A necropsy revealed the cat died from severe blunt-force trauma.
“Four months may not seem like enough punishment to fit the crime, but at least this man will no longer be able to own an animal,” says Stacy Wolf, ASPCA Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel.
We work hard to arrest and help prosecute anyone who abuses animals, but we need your help to ensure those who harm animals pay for their crimes. If you suspect animal cruelty in your area, please report it. Animals are counting on us.
On April 12, the ASPCA arrested a Bronx man for shooting his neighbor’s Maltese, Spike, after the dog wandered into his yard.
Donald Savino, 73, had signs in his yard that said “keep your dog off the grass.” When Spike slipped out the door and into Savino’s yard, Savino allegedly shot him with an air rifle from his window.
“He was smelling a tree,” Spike’s pet parent, Marco Lopez, told The New York Daily News. “Suddenly, I hear this noise....I hear my dog cry—he was screaming in pain.”
Lopez rushed his dog to an emergency veterinarian, but Spike couldn’t be saved and was humanely euthanized. ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents took Spike’s body to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where our forensic veterinarians determined he had been shot twice, in two separate incidents, and that his injuries would have been fatal.
“You have no idea all the pain we went through,” Lopez told The Daily News. “We loved (Spike) so much....It was such a terrible way that he died.”
Savino was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief and possession of an air rifle.
We can’t believe what happened to Spike, and we’re fighting every day to stop animal cruelty and ensure those who harm animals pay for their crimes. If you know of animal cruelty in your area, please report it. Animals are counting on us.
On April 3, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested Alex Dykes, 49, for allegedly beating his one-year-old male Shih Tzu mix, Bentley. In September, our agents visited Dykes’ Brooklyn home to investigate a complaint that a dog had been beaten and needed immediate help.
At the residence, Agents found poor Bentley in pain, and they knew something was wrong. They transported him to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for treatment. Our vets treated Bentley with oxygen immediately, ultimately concluding he had a brain hemorrhage and a fractured skull and jaw due to blunt force trauma. He is now recuperating in a foster home.
Dykes was charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty, a felony, and one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
Looking at Bentley’s sweet face, we have to wonder: Who could do this to an animal?
We’ve wanted to tell you about Vampiro for some time, and you won’t believe what he’s been through. In January, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents responded to a call from NYC Animal Care & Control about a six-year-old Chihuahua who had been abandoned in a pet store.
The dog, Vampiro, was just skin and bones. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, veterinarians found Vampiro to be emaciated, dehydrated and suffering from an untreated skin ailment, all caused by prolonged inadequate nutrition. He was also found to be blind. Our vets gave Vampiro IV fluids, medication, water and a balanced diet right away.
Meanwhile, AC&C told us that Vampiro had been adopted in 2006 by Brooklyn resident Venus Laventure, 50. On February 25, the ASPCA arrested Laventure. She was charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, she faces up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. She is due in court on May 13.
After a few months at the ASPCA, Vampiro is doing much better. In fact, he’ll soon be made available for adoption—and his future family is in for a treat! Vampiro is a sweetheart who loves to give doggie kisses.
In late March, the ASPCA played a critical role in a three-state dog fighting raid that resulted in the rescue of nearly 100 animals. A few weeks after this intricately coordinated effort to rescue dogs in Texas, Missouri and Kansas went off without a hitch, we’re able to update you on the dogs and the dog fighters.
When we found these dogs, many were doomed to live their whole lives tethered by heavy chains—and on the day of the raid, many were left outside to suffer through a blizzard. Now, says ASPCA Vice President of Field Investigations and Response Tim Rickey, they’re living in an entirely different world.
When the dogs arrived at our temporary shelter, our veterinary professionals, led by the ASPCA’s Dr. Sarah Kirk, examined them quickly and thoroughly. Some dogs needed immediate care, while others require ongoing treatment which they are now receiving from ASPCA and local veterinarians.
An ASPCA behaviorist will be on the ground at the shelter throughout this operation, and while the dogs stay in our clean and spacious shelter, they will benefit from behavioral enrichment programs that incorporate toys, games and lots of fun interactions with people. The dogs will have regular access to one of several large exercise playpens, where they’ll get to play with our responders and burn off excess doggy energy.
“Every day,” Rickey says, “we’re focusing on taking care of these animals and providing the best environment that we can for them.”
The ASPCA continues to work to collect evidence and provide other support to law enforcement, working to ensure dog fighters pay for harming these animal victims. The charges are just starting to roll in:
Last week Pete Davis Jr. and Melvin L. Robinson, both of Kansas City, Kansas, were each charged in federal court with one count of transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture in interstate commerce. If convicted, they face up to five years in federal prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000.
“The case is not over yet—there’s still a lot of work to be done on the investigation side,” says Rickey, adding that he hopes to see more arrests in relation to this raid.
The ASPCA had been assisting the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies with the planning of this large-scale raid since November 2012. ASPCA Blood Sports Director Terry Mills provided his expertise to help these agencies maximize the operation’s impact. Our next steps: continuing to provide top-notch care for these animals and working with authorities to secure the right to place dogs in loving homes.
If you’ve given to the ASPCA recently, from the bottom of our hearts: thank you. This raid is an enormous undertaking and a huge commitment, but we are dedicated to being there for animal victims of cruelty whenever they need us. If you haven’t yet given lately, please consider doing so today. On behalf of animals across the country, thank you!