Dog rescuer turns out to be its abuser: DA

By Sadef Ali Kully

The man who claimed he found a starving boxer in a park and then brought it to a city shelter last week was charged Thursday with animal cruelty after an investigation revealed he was the dog’s owner and had failed to properly care for the animal, the Queens District Attorney office said.

Anthony Esteves, 25, from Ridgewood was arraigned before Judge Bruna DiBiase on a criminal complaint charging him with aggravated cruelty to animals, falsifying business records, torturing and injuring an animal and with failure to provide sustenance to an animal.

According to the criminal complaint, Esteves brought a dog to an Animal Care and Control shelter at 92-29 Queens Blvd. on the afternoon of Oct. 13.

Esteves allegedly stated that he had found the dog lying in a park. Then when he was asked by shelter employees to give his address, Esteves provided a false one, the DA said.

According to ACC records, the condition of the dog was recorded in the case file as “ . . . not enough energy to walk . . . after dog left there were blood stains in the kennel.”

Court records said Esteves allegedly stated at first that he wanted to adopt the dog, but later retracted his offer, the DA said.

The dog weighed only 25 pounds and was emaciated and skeletal when it was brought to the shelter, according the ACC report. Based on its bone structure and height, the dog should have weighed about 60 to 65 pounds.

“It is alleged that the emaciated animal was severely malnourished and did not have the energy to walk,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The defendant is accused of showing a complete disregard for the well being of this helpless animal when he failed to provide the basic necessities required to maintain the animal’s health.”

Esteves allegedly told many stories to the police until he finally admitted the dog was his and he did not want the dog to die in his bedroom, the DA said.

Court records revealed after Esteves was taken into custody, a court-authorized search of his home revealed there was no dog food anywhere in the house nor evidence of dog food ever having been in the house.

Brown said that based on the “Purina Scale,” which runs from level one — emaciated, to level nine — obese, the boxer was rated level one by an ASPCA forensic veterinarian one week after being surrendered by Esteves.

The veterinarian allegedly stated that it would take weeks, if not months, for a dog of such size to be assessed at level one if the dog had started out as healthy.

Esteves, faces up to four years in prison if convicted, and was released on his own recognizance. He was ordered to return to court on Dec. 15.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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