The Suffolk County Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals said Josephine Rivera, of Mastic, was charged with animal abandonment. Authorities said she had been processed at the Seventh Precinct in Shirley, but it was unclear when she would face a judge for arraignment. Attempts to reach Rivera for comment on Monday evening were unsuccessful.
SPCA Chief Roy Gross said investigators were led to Rivera after receiving a tip when they offered a $2,000 reward for information in the case. He said she allegedly tossed the young pooch – a small-sized Toy Poodle – out of her car at the Exxon gas station on Montauk Highway on June 23 and then drove away. Witnesses reported seeing a Hispanic woman in her 30s tossing the small white dog from a car.
According to a news release, the witness told animal cruelty investigators that he confronted the woman in the gas station parking lot, “giving her a piece of his mind.” The woman, who was in a four-door sedan, allegedly collected the dog and then left the scene, according to Newsday. Investigators said she had four young children – between 3 and 5 years old – in the back seat of her car. An older child was in the front passenger seat, authorities said.
Newsday reported Rivera allegedly dumped the dog at Smith Point County Park in Shirley. Gross said Rivera allegedly hopped out of her car to abandon the dog and left the dog running “frantically” around the car – trying to get back inside – when she took off. Investigators released surveillance images of the car from the gas station earlier this month. Gross credited the tipster for leading detectives to make an arrest in the case.