On January 19, David Barkley, 39, of the New York Aquarium pet store located on Jamaica Avenue, was arrested by Special Agent Joann Sandano and charged with animal cruelty for allegedly severely neglecting two birds, both of whom died. The store is known for selling exotic birds, reptiles and fish, as well as for boarding dogs.
The initial investigation began on October 25, 2009, after a concerned customer filed a complaint with the ASPCA regarding an ill dog being boarded at the facility. Upon arrival, Agent Sandano discovered that the dog in question had been returned to his owner. However, further inspection of the facility turned up a dead parakeet lying atop a bird cage. The remains were taken to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where veterinarians performed a necropsy and determined that the cause of death was neglect and malnourishment.
Agent Sandano returned to the location as a follow-up to the investigation. Her second inspection of the store uncovered a canary huddled in a cage in the shop’s basement. Agent Sandano immediately transported the bird to the ASPCA Animal Hospital—unfortunately, the bird died in transport. Agent Sandano subsequently returned to New York Aquarium to place Barkley under arrest.
Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel of the Humane Law Enforcement Department stated, “The ASPCA aims to ensure that those in the business of selling pets for profit provide adequate care to their charges—regardless of species. Failure to do so should carry serious consequences.”
Barkley, who took full responsibility for caring for the animals in the shop, was charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail and fines up to $2,000.
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.