A Woodside man was sentenced to jail time after admitting to killing his girlfriend’s dog in July 2018, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Brando Henriquez, 24, pleaded guilty last week to aggravated animal cruelty, tampering with physical evidence and criminal contempt. On June 18, he was sentenced to six months in jail on the animal cruelty charge, three years’ conditional discharge on the tampering charge, and a one-year conditional discharge on the contempt charge.
Henriquez was also banned from owning an animal and is required to register with the New York City Department of Health as an animal abuser, which will prevent city shelters, rescue groups and/or pet stores from allowing Henriquez to purchase or adopt a pet.
“The defendant in this case intentionally killed his girlfriend’s dog and then callously left the animal’s battered corpse in a nearby parking lot,” said acting District Attorney John M. Ryan. “This little dog was part of a family and a resident of Queens County, where we will not stand for violence and cruelty against anyone, including our four-legged companions.”
According to charges, at around 4:30 p.m. on July 15, 2018, Henriquez was spotted on surveillance footage leaving his then-girlfriend’s Broad Channel residence with a white plastic bag containing a lump the size and shape of the dog. He was also spotted on camera running toward a parking lot a short distance from his girlfriend’s home and returning without the bag.
When asked about the dog, Henriquez told his then-girlfriend and her family that the dog had run away.
After days of searching, the dog, a shih tzu named Lavonia, was found on July 19. The girlfriend’s relatives found her in a parking lot and Lavonia’s body was badly decomposed. A necropsy performed by an ASPCA forensic veterinarian determined that Lavonia had sustained multiple rib fractures, however, due to the decomposition an exact cause of death could not be determined.
After reviewing the surveillance footage, the NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad detectives arrested Henriquez. Henriquez was also held in contempt for violating an order of protection to not contact his former girlfriend.