DOG FOUND IN GARBAGE CAN IN MASPETH
By Conor Greene
A Maspeth woman has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty after locking her poodle in a suitcase, which she dumped in a garbage can near her home. The dog was rescued by neighbors who heard it crying, but it later died while being treated by Animal Care and Control veterinarians.
Sonia Perez, 21, of 60-49 54th Place was arraigned on March 5 in Queens Criminal Court on charges of felony aggravated cruelty to animals and misdemeanor torturing an animal. Bail was set at $1,000 and she was ordered to return to court on March 19.
Neighbor Amber Munyan was walking her dog along 54th Place on March 3 when she heard noises coming from the trash can. She looked in the garbage and found the suitcase containing the severely injured poodle, which she brought back to her home. She then contacted wildlife management expert David Quinn to see if he could offer assistance.
“I looked at it, saw it was in terrible shape and said we have to contact authorities,” said Quinn. They were forced to call 911 since ASPCA animal cruelty officers are not available after 9 p.m. According to Quinn, it took more than two hours for officers to arrive –and that was only after a neighbor called 911 to report a possible domestic situation inside the dog owner’s home, from which yelling could be heard.
“I heard her yelling, ‘I got rid of the dog’ – we both heard it,” he continued. “When police arrived, [the defendant’s] brother came out and said, ‘Oh, we threw the dog out.’” Another witness, Harry Gold, told police he recognized the poodle as belonging to Perez, and said the woman had previously told him that it was difficult taking care of both the dog and her child. According to a police source, a neighbor also told authorities that Perez had beaten the dog on several prior occasions.
Police arrested Perez at the scene, and the poodle was taken to Animal Care and Control for treatment, where it later died. A veterinarian reported that an external exam revealed that the poodle had a good body condition but had suffered from scrotal bruising and rib fractures.
“It’s unbelievable what people can do to animals, just horrible” said Quinn. “It’s heartbreaking - the dog couldn’t have been more than ten to twelve pounds.”