A Port Washington man was arrested on Saturday for allegedly biting out the eye of his family’s dog, but the accusation is disputed by the man’s family.
Aaron Kluger, 20, was arrested for allegedly torturing and injuring an animal, according to a news release from the Nassau County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In a press release, the SPCA said that on Nov. 6, a 3-year-old shih tzu named Chloe was taken to a veterinarian with a serious eye injury. The veterinarian determined that the eye had been bitten out and notified the Nassau SPCA.
Following an almost month long investigation, Kluger was arrested. But the SPCA’s version of events was disputed by the Kluger family.
“He was playing with the dog and somehow the eye got displaced,” said the man’s father, Dan Kluger. “It was an accident, it was a minor eye displacement, which if you noticed was wildly exaggerated in the media.”
Kluger’s father said reports on the dog’s condition were misleading and said that the eye had not come out.
“When I first saw the injury, I didn’t even think it required immediate medical attention,” he said. “It was not bulging out at all.”
He said that it was his son’s idea to take the dog to the veterinarian. A few days later, an SPCA detective visited the Kluger residence, and that is how Dan Kluger found out his son was being accused of torturing an animal.
“It’s insane what is being said, it’s ridiculous,” Dan Kluger said. “It’s had a terrible impact on my son, he’s received hundreds of death threats.”
As a way of responding to the negative message he has received, Aaron posted a video on his Facebook page Monday, showing the dog at home with him and seemingly in fine condition.
“Very misleading news articles have been released saying that I bit her eye out,” Aaron said in the video. “I love Chloe. How could you not love a cute little doggy like this?”
At one point, Aaron brushes back the hair around the dog’s eyes to show that both are intact.
This version of events was disputed by the SPCA and a Nassau County Police crime report. The report says that the dog had a “traumatic injury to its right eye” and that Dan Kluger, described as a witness, reported that his son “had intentionally caused the injury.”
The report, however, says that Aaron Kluger “did bite the top of the dogs [sic] head causing visibly trauma to the dogs [sic] right eye.” The eye was bulging out and required pain medication, antibiotics and removal of debris via flushing of the eye and placement of temporary tarsorraphy.
“We conducted our investigation, the father was interviewed, everything was reviewed,” SPCA spokesman Gary Rogers said. “We make sure we discuss everything with prosecutors before we proceed forward.”
Rogers said he was unsure why Kluger bit the dog, but did say he was optimistic that the dog would make a recovery.
“I saw the dog Saturday and she seemed to be fine,” Rogers said.
Kluger is due in First District Court in Hempstead on Dec. 27. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor, and if found guilty, Kluger could face a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison.