On September 29, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested Manhattan resident Anthony Polanco for striking and injuring his four-year-old Yorkie, Jack.
The investigation began on August 9, when Polanco brought his dog to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for treatment—Jack was unable to walk. When questioned by veterinarians, the 27-year-old admitted to striking the dog while grooming him. Upon further examination, veterinarians determined that Jack had sustained severe blunt force trauma to his spinal cord.
“Inflicting such severe injury on a helpless dog signals the potential for violence directed at other vulnerable victims,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for the Humane Law Enforcement. “We too often see that animal abusers are repeat offenders.”
Jack is currently recovering at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where he will remain until he is able to be placed up for adoption. Due to the extent of his injuries, Jack may never regain complete function of his right limbs.
“Jack sustained serious injuries—his body may never fully recover,” says Wolf. “But this victim of abuse deserves a second chance at a better life and the comforts of a new forever home."
Polanco, 27, was charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty and faces up to two years in jail if convicted.
On August 25, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested Matthew Soto, co-owner and daily manager of Bark & Play, a dog-boarding and day-care facility in Brooklyn, NY. Soto has been charged with five counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty for severely neglecting several dogs boarded at the kennel.
The investigation began in late June after ASPCA Agents discovered that the facility was housing dogs in extremely unsanitary conditions. The animals were left unattended in poorly ventilated areas saturated with urine and feces. Two underweight Pit Bull mixes named Tango and Sweets were transported to the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, where they were treated for severe urine burns as well as other conditions of neglect. Dr. Robert Reisman, ASPCA Medical Coordinator of Animal Abuse Cases, provided emergency veterinary treatment.
Tango and Sweets were just two of several dogs who had been boarded at the kennel by local rescue groups. "Rescue groups would pay the facility to temporarily board dogs until they found homes for them," says Stacy Wolf, the ASPCA’s Vice President of Chief Legal Counsel for Humane Law Enforcement. "However, several dogs had been left there for months."
Tango, pictured here at the ASPCA, is recovering from his injuries and will soon be made available for adoption.
Soto faces up to two years in jail if convicted. Since the June seizure, Bark & Play has closed its doors to the public.
If you know of an animal whose health is being compromised by neglect or abuse, please report it. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty in your neighborhood.