MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Jersey City couple has been arrested for allegedly abandoning two dogs near the North Shore Animal League on July 31. The animals were discovered dead in a crate approximately an hour after they were abandoned.
Steven Rivera, 28, and Diana Rodriguez, 33, both from Jersey City, N.J., were arraigned today before District Court Judge Ignatius Muscarella on two counts each of Abandonment of Animals (an unclassified misdemeanor) and two counts each of Overdriving, Torturing, and Injuring Animals; Failure to Provide Sustenance (an A misdemeanor). Bail was set at $250 bond or $125 cash for both defendants and they are due back in court on August 28. If convicted on all counts, the defendants face up to two years in jail.
“These two helpless dogs were left to die a horrific death when they were left trapped in crates in sweltering conditions,” DA Singas said. “I thank our dedicated Animal Crimes Unit and the Port Washington Police Department for investigating this case.”
DA Singas said on July 31 the defendants allegedly loaded their two dogs – a male grey and black pit bull named King and tan-colored female pit bull named Becki – in a crate into the back of a rented U-Haul truck. The defendants – driven by a third individual – then dropped the dogs off at approximately 3:59 p.m. in the driveway of a propane business near the North Shore Animal League in Port Washington. The dogs were approximately three years of age and weighed approximately 60 to 70 pounds each.
King and Becki were found dead in a crate by two employees of a nearby business at approximately 5 p.m. The animals apparently died due to exposure. It was sunny and approximately 88 degrees at the time the dogs were abandoned. The crate provided no shelter from the elements and King and Becki had no signs of external trauma.
The defendants surrendered this morning to NCDA Investigators after a three-week long investigation by the NCDA that was assisted by the Port Washington Police Department.
District Attorney Law Assistant Helene Weiss and Assistant District Attorney Sean Jaime of DA Singas’ Animal Crimes Unit is prosecuting this case. Rivera is represented by Justin Bobko, Esq and Rodriguez is represented by Legal Aid.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.