Two arrested for abandoning pit bulls in Port Washington

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Two arrested for abandoning pit bulls in Port Washington
From left, Steven Rivera, 28, and Diana Rodriguez, 33, surrendered this morning after allegedly leaving two pit bulls in a crate in Port Washington on July 31. (Photo courtesy Nassau County DA)

Two arrests have been made in connection with two pit bulls found dead in Port Washington last month.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said a Jersey City couple, Steven Rivera, 28, and Diana Rodriguez, 33, surrendered and were arrested this morning for allegedly abandoning two dogs near the North Shore Animal League on Davis Avenue on July 31.

Two pit bulls were discovered dead inside a crate on July 31 behind 19 Davis Avenue in Port Washington. (Photo courtesy NCDA)

The two dogs, a male grey and black pit bull named King and tan-colored female pit bull named Becki, were discovered dead in a crate approximately an hour after they were abandoned.

Rivera and Rodrigues 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 Aug. 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,” Singas said in a release. “I thank our dedicated Animal Crimes Unit and the Port Washington Police Department for investigating this case.”

Rivera’s attorney Justin Bobko said his client entered a not guilty plea in court this morning and 

“After speaking to Mr. Rivera, he never had any intent to injure any animals,” Bobko said. “He loves animals.”

Singas said on July, 31 the couple allegedly loaded their two dogs into a crate into the back of a rented U-Haul truck.

The defendants, driven by a third party, dropped the dogs off around 4 p.m. in the driveway of a propane business near the North Shore Animal League in Port Washington. The dogs were found dead around 5 p.m. by two employees of a neighboring business.

The simple metal crate with no solid roof was exposed to the elements, and the dogs were without water on the sunny, 88-degree day.

King and Becki were approximately three years of age and weighed about 70 pounds each. 

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.

Rodriguez is represented by Legal Aid, who did not respond for comment.

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