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Buffalo man facing aggravated animal cruelty charge, allegedly hit and threw puppy

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Posted at 10:27 AM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 10:27:22-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Buffalo man is facing an aggravated animal cruelty charge after allegedly hitting and throwing a puppy to the ground multiple times.

The Erie County District Attorney's Office says 22-year-old Navier Rodriguez was arraigned Monday on an indictment charging him with one count of aggravated cruelty to animals.

On April 7 around 10:45 a.m. Rodriguez allegedly hit his 8-week-old puppy and threw it to the ground multiple times on Porter Avenue near Front Park. The district attorney's office says the puppy suffered extensive injuries to its mouth and the incident was allegedly seen by multiple witnesses.

“This defendant was indicted on the highest possible charge for savagely beating a defenseless puppy. Animal cruelty of any kind will not be tolerated in Erie County. I created an Animal Cruelty Unit in my office to ensure that these offenders are held accountable for their actions. I want to thank the SPCA Serving Erie County for their assistance in these criminal investigations and for the many services they provide to help these animals,” said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

The puppy was placed in the custody of the Erie County SPCA after the incident and received veterinary care. The puppy is now known as “Petey,” and is in the care of a foster family.

“Animal abuse cases are always heartbreaking and the SPCA is grateful to know that members of the grand jury felt that this case warranted aggravated animal cruelty charges. No animal deserves to suffer needlessly, much less a 8-week-old puppy. We are happy to help him on his road to recovery,” said Officer Lindsey Wood of the SPCA Serving Erie County.

Rodriguez is scheduled to return on September 21. He remains released on his own recognizance, the district attorney's office says the charge is non-qualifying for bail.

An order was signed prohibiting Rodriguez from owning any animals during the case. He faces a maximum of four years in prison if convicted of the charge.