Justice for Sally: The ASPCA Helps Put an Animal Abuser Behind Bars and Gives Sally a Second Chance at Love

January 31, 2018


Recently, we asked our supporters to tell us which aspect of ASPCA’s work was most important to them. Between fighting for stronger animal protection laws, rescuing animals affected by natural disasters, working with law enforcement to rescue victims of abuse and fight cruelty, and finding loving families for homeless animals—we work round-the-clock to help animals in need. But, we wanted to hear from the people who help make it all possible—supporters like you. We surveyed supporters across the country and saw an overwhelming response from passionate people making their voices heard in support of every aspect of our work.

Yet working with law enforcement to rescue victims of abuse and fight cruelty emerged as a top priority for most of our supporters. We work with local law enforcement all over the country in times of need, to save animals’ lives and bring animal abusers to justice. Our NYPD partnership is a shining example of that, and you can see the impact of these efforts in a case like Sally’s.  Sally was brought into the ASPCA in September 2016, at just eight months old with a severely injured hind leg. At the time, the woman who brought Sally to us told ASPCA veterinarians that the puppy had fallen down the stairs. However, after discovering previously healed injuries that indicated abuse, we contacted the NYPD, who investigated and discovered video footage that showed just how Sally sustained her injuries. 

In the video, the unidentified woman’s boyfriend, Roberto Martinez, was seen lifting the helpless dog up to shoulder-height, and slamming her to the ground. While Sally tried to flee, it was clear that she was unable to walk. The severity of the damage to Sally’s leg led veterinarians to make the difficult decision to amputate her limb. While we focused on Sally’s care and recovery, the NYPD and the Bronx District Attorney worked to help ensure that Martinez would be held accountable for what he’d done to Sally.

In October 2017, Martinez pleaded guilty to felony aggravated cruelty. He was sentenced to one year in prison, is required to register as an animal abuser on the New York City Animal Abuse Registry and is not allowed to own an animal for five years. It is cases like these that remind us why we work so hard for innocent victims like Sally. 

"The ASPCA is thankful that the sentence reflects the extreme pain and suffering Sassy - now named Sally - had to endure at the hands of her abuser. This decision illustrates the positive impact of the NYPD, Bronx District Attorney’s Office and ASPCA working side-by-side to fight animal cruelty,” says Howard Lawrence, Vice President of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement. “Thanks to this collaboration, Sally was given a second chance in a loving, safe home and a powerful message has been sent that animal abuse will not be tolerated in New York City."

Today, we’re happy to share that Sally has found a loving home and a family who gives her the care she has waited so long for.

Every victim deserves a voice, and through our partnerships with law enforcement, we are able to not only rescue victims from abusive situations, but fight on their behalf to ensure that justice is served. With your help, we will continue to make this life-saving work a priority and hold animal abusers accountable for their crimes.