BY IRENE SPEZZAMONTE
A Ridgewood man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to felony animal cruelty charges after dropping off a starving boxer at a shelter and later denying that he was the owner of the dog, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
Anthony Estevez, 25, of Metropolitan Avenue was arrested on Oct. 19, six days after he brought a malnourished boxer to an Animal Care and Control (ACC) shelter located on Queens Boulevard. Estevez claimed that he found the dog lying in a park and that he was willing to adopt the dog after it recovered, according to police.
Later, authorities said, Estevez provided ACC with a false address, which actually was his neighbor’s home, and he reneged on his previous promise to adopt the dog.
Police began investigating the case after receiving an inquiry from the New York Daily News. When interviewed, authorities said, Estevez kept lying about owning the dog. The man eventually later confessed the dog was his and that he took it to the shelter because he didn’t want the dog to die in his bedroom, according to officials.
After Estevez was arrested, a court-authorized search warrant of Estevez’s apartment was executed, and officials didn’t find any food or any other items necessary to care for a dog.
According to ACC records, the dog’s condition was written down as “not enough energy to walk…after dog left there were blood stains in the kennel.” At the time it only weighed 25 pounds and its condition was “very acute in terms of being emaciated and skeletal when it was brought to the shelter.”
Based on the dog’s bone structure and height, it should have weighed around 60 to 65 pounds, according to authorities. However, based on the “Purina Scale” — which runs from level one, meaning very emaciated, to level nine, meaning very obese — the dog was rated to be a level one.
The veterinarian at the time allegedly said that it would take weeks, if not months, for a dog of its size to become a level one if it had started out as healthy.
Since then, the dog — who has now been named Brewster — has recovered and is expected to be adopted soon.
“A dog may be man’s best friend but in this case the defendant proved to be Brewster’s worst enemy. When the defendant brought Brewster to the shelter, the animal was emaciated, severely malnourished and did not have the energy to walk,” Brown said. “Brewster has since recovered and now the defendant is a convicted felon who is prohibited from owning another animal and must register with the New York City Department of Health as an animal abuser. It is expected that Brewster will soon be adopted into a loving home.”
Estevez was sentenced to a conditional discharge and is now banned from owning an animal for three years. He must also register as an animal abuser with the New York City Department of Health.