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Three Nassau area residents arrested in mutilation of pit bull puppy

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The Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Attorney General's Office on Tuesday announced the arrest of Lee Hughes, Shawanna Hughes, and Reginald Smith, who face numerous counts of animal cruelty, practicing medicine without a license, and conspiracy for the mutilation of a seven-month-old pit bull puppy reports the Long Island Newsday.

After a lengthy investigation, Lee Hughes, 39, of Westbury, and Shawanna Hughes, 37, of Oyster Bay, were found to be the original owners of the puppy now called Miss Harper. The young dog who has captured the hearts of animal lovers throughout the country, was rescued by the Nassau County SPCA after she was found with her ears chopped off and her rear leg partially missing.

Read more about Miss Harper's story of rescue by clicking here.

There have been conflicting accounts from the suspects and witnesses of the puppy's past. According to Shawanna and Lee, the couple stated they had been away on a trip and when they came home, the puppy, then named She-Ra, ears had been "chewed off" and her leg was taped. The puppy had been part of a litter born at their home.

Reginald Smith, 33, of Westbury, who had been a veterinary technician at the Elmont Animal Hospital, was allegedly charged with amputating the pup's leg at the animal hospital after office hours.

In other accounts, Shawanna and Lee gave the puppy away because of pending animal cruelty and abuse charges allegedly against Shawanna in the case of a different dog.

Witnesses state the puppy was in poor physical condition with an infected leg with tissue and bone visible. The witness turned the puppy over to a veterinarian in September.

Miss Harper will have all the surgery necessary to help her live a wonderful life. If you would like to help her, please click here.

Lee Hughes denies all charges. Reginald Smith states the puppy's leg had already been amputated by the time he saw her.

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