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A Woodside man has been arrested and charged after allegedly killing his girlfriend’s dog in July.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced on Aug. 8 that Brando Henriquez, 23, of Woodside, has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after his girlfriend’s 2-year-old Shih Tzu was found deceased with four broken ribs due to blunt force trauma.

“The defendant is accused of aggravated cruelty to animals for brutally killing a small, helpless dog and heartlessly offering false hope to his girlfriend and family by making them think that the dog had just run away,” Brown said. “For the next four days she and family members searched the area and put up missing dog posters in the belief that they would find the dog alive, sadly, only to find the dog’s remains where the defendant allegedly disposed of them. Such acts of aggression toward defenseless animals cannot – and will not – be tolerated in Queens County.”

According to the criminal complaint, Henriquez’s girlfriend left her home in Broad Channel in the late afternoon of July 15, leaving her black and white Shih Tzu, Lavonia, alone in the home. When she returned after approximately a half hour, Henriquez was alone in the home and allegedly claimed that he didn’t know what happened to the dog, even suggesting that maybe the dog ran out and escaped, records show.

On July 19, following several days of searching and posting lost dog posters, the mother and brother of Henriquez’s girlfriend discovered the remains of Lavonia. The dog was deceased and decomposing and had been placed in a white bag and disposed of in a parking lot several blocks east of the home, records show.

Upon further investigation, according to the complaint, police obtained surveillance footage from several locations that showed Henriquez leaving the girlfriend’s house with a white plastic bag containing a lump shortly after she left the residence. Footage also depicts Henriquez crouching down behind a garbage can as a passerby walks by him and the proceeding to run east down the block still holding the white bag, which the girlfriend recognized as the same brand she had purchased.

Henriquez is also alleged to have left voicemails on his girlfriend’s phone on July 20 and 21 apologizing for the disappearance of the dog. On Aug. 2, Henriquez allegedly called his mother and told her that the dog pooped and he performed CPR on the dog in the bathtub.

Police arrested Henriquez the following day, Aug. 3.

When forensic veterinarians performed a necropsy on the dog, they determined that the four rib fractures due to blunt force trauma showed no evidence of healing, indicating that they were sustained shortly before or after death.

Henriquez is currently being held on $10,000 bond and $7,000 cash bail and is due to appear in court again on Aug. 22. If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison.

Also on July 19, the same day the dog was discovered, Henriquez was arrested and booked for criminal possession of narcotics and posted $5,000 bond upon arraignment, according to court records. He is also due in court on Aug. 22 for that offense.


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