CASE UPDATE: Bronx Man Sentenced to One Year for Beating Puppy With a Shovel

March 10, 2017

Lacey Update

Many of you may recall the shocking story of Lacey, a six-month-old puppy who was punched, beaten with a shovel and buried in the snow in early 2015. After being rescued by the New York City Police Department (NYPD), Lacey was brought to the ASPCA, where she received critical medical treatment for extensive injuries including fractures to her skull, legs, ribs and back. She was later adopted into a loving home and renamed Peanut Butter.

Although Peanut Butter’s story had a happy ending, the brutality of what she endured stuck out in many of our minds. Today we are thrilled to provide you with an important update on her case.

After Peanut Butter’s rescue, her former owner, Raul Cruz, was arrested on a number of charges including Aggravated Cruelty to Animals. After pleading guilty on January 11, 2017, the 45-year-old Bronx resident was sentenced this week to one year in jail by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary.

“The defendant was relentless in his horrific abuse of a defenseless creature,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark in a press release Wednesday. “His prosecution and sentence shows that we are serious about protecting vulnerable animals.” 

Peanut Butter today.

Peanut Butter today.

Cruz reportedly hung his head in silence during the sentencing. In addition to jail time, he will also sign an agreement declaring he won’t own any pets and will register with the New York City Animal Abuse Registry.

Howard Lawrence, Vice President of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, said, “The amount of pain and suffering Peanut Butter endured is truly heartbreaking. Despite the abuse and weeks of medical treatment at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Peanut Butter’s gentle, playful spirit was never broken. Fortunately, she was able to recover and find a safe, loving home.”

Peanut Butter, now around two and a half years old, has grown into a sweet, goofy girl. Her family says that she loves meeting new people, playing with other dogs and snuggling.

 “The ASPCA is thankful to the NYPD and Bronx District Attorney for their dedication to seeking justice in this case,” says Lawrence. “Peanut Butter’s story is a great example of how reporting animal cruelty to 911 immediately can help save a life.”  

Peanut Butter

If you think someone you know is abusing animals, please speak up. Visit our Report Animal Cruelty page to learn how to recognize cruelty and report it in your area.