A Farmingdale couple whose Great Dane was found emaciated from neglect has been convicted of animal neglect by a Nassau County Jury.
Rose Neira, 32, and her husband Danny Neira, 41, a New York City police officer, were convicted of misdemeanor animal neglect after being accused of failing to provide food and medical care for their dog, Zack. The jury took just three hours to convict the couple, whose dog weighed just 87 pounds when it was found by authorities.
The animal, despite extensive rehabilitative efforts by veterinarians including surgery, died about a month later.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said the couple faces up to one year in jail. They are due back in court Dec. 11 for sentencing.
“There is no excuse or explanation for this level of cruelty and neglect, and I am shocked that these two people, one of whom is a police officer, did nothing while Zack wasted away in front of their eyes,” Rice said.
The case dates to Nov. 22, 2010, when district attorney investigators and members of the DA’s Animal Crimes Unit went to the Neiras’ home after receiving multiple tips that an animal was being neglected there.
Investigators found a 2-year-old Great Dane named Zack, "grossly emaciated with protruding ribs and its backbone visible through its skin," Rice said.
When questioned by investigators, Rose Neira initially claimed that the dog’s condition was due to parasites, but she could not provide the name of a veterinarian for the animal, nor could she produce any medication that was being administered to the animal. She stated that she kept the Great Dane in the kitchen, taking it out only once a night, and that she hadn’t sought veterinary treatment for more than a year.
Danny Neira is an officer with the New York Police Department, the district attorney's office said.
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Prosecutors obtained a warrant to seize the dog the following day and the Town of Oyster Bay’s Animal Control transported it to Oyster Bay Animal Hospital, where it was treated by a veterinarian for 10 days.
In addition to the dog’s emaciated appearance, its nails were damaged and overgrown and its ear cavities were caked with dirt and grease. Zack’s multiple health issues forced veterinarians to feed him intravenously, authorities said.
A normal, healthy Great Dane should weigh between 120 and 150 pounds. Zack succumbed to multiple health problems on Dec. 1, 2010 while still receiving around-the-clock veterinary care.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Libroia of the Animal Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case for the DA’s Office. The Neiras are represented by Robert DelGrosso.
Numerous reptiles, turtles, birds and fish were also observed living in unsanitary conditions inside the Neira home, many of which were seized by authorities.
Rice issued a thank you to the Town of Oyster Bay, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Suffolk County SPCA for their assistance in this case.
“I strongly encourage anyone who is aware of an animal being abused or neglected to contact my office’s Animal Abuse hotline at (516) 571-ACHL,” Rice said.
Video footage of Zack taken by DA Investigators can be viewed on DA Rice’s YouTube page .
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