Nassau County police have arrested 26-year old Hector Hernandez of W. Hempstead, NY after finding 8 badly scarred pit bulls at his home. Two of the dogs, identified as Nana and Roja had fresh bite marks and fresh blood on their front sides, and were so gaunt their bones were showing through their skin.
According to Jed Painter, head of the district attorney’s animal crimes unit, the animals were being kept inside a “shut-up shed” about the size of a single-car garage, along with chickens and a rabbit. Investigators also seized dogfighting paraphernalia including heavy restraint chains, a treadmill with wooden frame and a training stick with a stuffed animal attached used to bait the dogs into attacking.
Hernandez has been charged with 9 counts of “prohibition of animal fighting and 2 counts of failing to provide proper sustenance,” all of which are misdemeanors, although Nassau DA Kathleen Rice stated that she has been trying to get the New York State legislature to pass laws that would move “dogfighting and animal abuse from the agricultural law section into the penal code, thus allowing for stiffer penalties.”
If convicted, Hernandez could face a fine of $15,000 per dog and 1 year in jail for each count against him.
All the animals have been placed in local shelters. In the meantime, it was not clear whether or not any of the dogs would have to be put down.
Anyone wishing to report similar cases of abuse can do so by calling the Nassau County Animal Crimes Unit at 516 571-2245.