A Ridgewood man has been charged with animal cruelty after bringing a starving dog to a shelter and lying about his ownership of the dog, according to the Queens district attorney.
Anthony Esteves, 25, of Metropolitan Avenue, brought a boxer breed dog to an Animal Care and Control (ACC) shelter at 92-29 Queens Blvd. on Oct. 13. He then allegedly told shelter employees that he had found the dog lying in the park and provided a false address when asked for his personal information.
According to ACC records of the dog’s condition, the animal did not have enough energy to walk and he left blood stains behind in the kennel.
The boxer was skeletal and emaciated—weighing only 25 pounds despite having the bone structure for a 60 to 65 pound weight range. An ASPCA forensic veterinarian later allegedly stated that it would have taken weeks, if not months, for a dog of such size to get to his condition if he started out as a healthy animal.
“It is alleged that the emaciated animal was severely malnourished and did not have the energy to walk when the defendant brought the animal to the shelter,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “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.”
A police investigation on Esteves triggered by a Daily News inquiry revealed that the address provided to the ACC shelter was actually located next door from where he lived.
When authorities interviewed him at his residence on Oct. 19, Esteves allegedly provided various stories about who the dog belonged to before finally admitting that he was the true owner and that he brought the animal to the shelter because he did not want it to die in his bedroom.
During a court-authorized search warrant executed in Esteves’ home in the evening of Oct. 19, authorities did not find any receipts for dog food, veterinary care or dietary supplements for dogs, nor was there any dog food or evidence of dog food ever having been in the house.
Esteves was arraigned on Tuesday evening on criminal charges of aggravated cruelty to animals, first-degree falsifying business records and two counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals and failing to provide sustenance.
The defendant faces up to four years in prison if convicted and was released on his own recognizance with orders to return to court on Dec. 15.
According to the Facebook page for Adopt a Boxer Rescue, a nonprofit currently caring for the boxer which has since been named “Brewster,” the dog has gained six pounds in the last week and is slowly recovering.