Flushing pet groomer arraigned on animal cruelty charges after dog dies during session: DA

A Flushing man is charged with animal cruelty and other crimes after a Maltese dog like this one was killed during a grooming session, prosecutors said.
(Photo via Wikimedia)

A Flushing man was criminally charged with animal cruelty and other crimes following the death of a 4-year-old Maltese dog that was allegedly abused during a grooming session, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Lee Yat Sing, 31, of 72nd Road, was arraigned May 24 in Queens Criminal Court on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals.

According to the charges, on March 2, between 4:50 and 6 p.m., the owner of a Maltese named Kele dropped the dog off at Furry Babies Pet Grooming, at 143-01 45th Ave. in Flushing. Video surveillance footage of the grooming session shows Sing aggressively and inappropriately manipulating Kele. Sing twice hit the 7-pound dog with a pair of scissors while restraining her head and neck. He also lifted the dog off the grooming table by holding her head and neck and by pulling on Kele’s beard.

Kele struggled and resisted throughout and exhibited irregular and strained breathing, according to the charges, and when Kele went limp, Sing failed to get help or administer care and instead continued to roughly handle the unresponsive dog for an additional six minutes.

A necropsy done by a forensic veterinarian found that the otherwise healthy Kele died from respiratory failure as a result of being forcefully manipulated and restrained during the grooming session, which caused bruising, pain and distress.

“When we entrust our beloved pets to caretakers, they should be returned to us in the same healthy condition,” Katz said. “Instead, this pet owner learned his dog had cruelly died during a routine grooming service. We will hold the defendant accountable for his actions.”

The defendant must return to court on July 26 in front of Criminal Court Judge Jeffrey Gershuny. If convicted, Sing faces up to two years in prison.