NEW YORKHumane Law Enforcement officers for The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) arrested Bronx resident Frederick Fontanez on Wednesday for beating a dog, prompting a Queens judge to issue the first-ever order of protection in New York for a pet.
Fontanez, 20, was arrested without incident outside a home in Queens. He is charged with one count of animal cruelty which is punishable by $1,000 and/or one year in jail.
Assistant District Attorney Heather Nicoletti of the Queens District Attorney’s office, Criminal Court Bureau, was granted an order of protection for both the dog and his owner by Judge Alex J. Zigman. The order of protection is a first under new legislation signed by Governor George Pataki. Fontanez was ordered to keep at least 100 yards away from Bebe, a 14-lb. bichon frisé, and Bebe’s owner, who is a friend of the suspect.
“The issuance of an order of protection for a pet in New York State is a significant new development,” said Joseph Pentangelo, Assistant Director of Humane Law Enforcement for the ASPCA. “Often times, animals are caught in the cycle of domestic violence. The ASPCA welcomes this additional tool in the fight against animal cruelty.”
On July 20, 2006, Fontanez was in the home of Bebe’s owner with the dog. When the friend returned that evening, he discovered Bebe had sustained multiple injuries, including severe bruising on his back and trauma to his left thigh and right eye. In addition, Bebe walked with a pronounced limp.
Neighbors complained to the dog’s owner that they had heard Bebe yelping loudly several times during that day while Fontanez was in the apartment. Bebe was taken to a local veterinarian where he was treated for his injuries and is expected to recover.
The Humane Law Enforcement Department of the ASPCA is the only law enforcement agency in New York solely dedicated to investigating crimes against the city’s animal population. Founded in 1866, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was the first humane organization established in the Western Hemisphere and today has one million supporters The ASPCA’s mission is to provide an effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides national leadership in humane education, government affairs and public policy, shelter support, and animal poison control. The NYC headquarters houses a full-service animal hospital, animal behavior center, and adoption facility. Visit www.aspca.org for more information.