The state Court of Appeals has affirmed the 2007 animal mistreatment conviction of a Jamaica man charged with starving his dog, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced last week.
Curtis Basile, then 19, had been charged in December 2007 with violating section 353 of the state’s Agricultural and Market Law for failing to provide proper sustenance to his 18-month-old mixed German Shepard in September and October 2007.
At trial, Brown noted, a special agent of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals testified that he had responded to Basile’s residence to investigate a complaint regarding the possible abuse of a dog. In Basile’s backyard, the agent said he observed an obviously underfed and dirty, long-haired, mixed-breed dog that was tied to a fence with a 4-foot lead. There was no food, water or shelter provided for the animal in the backyard.
Basile admitted that he was the owner of the dog. After a discussion regarding its condition and Basile’s financial inability to care for it, Basile surrendered his dog to the agent. It was taken to an ASPCA hospital, where he was presented to Dr. Robert Reisman, a veterinarian.
Reisman testified that he had determined that the dog was emaciated, flea infested, battling dehydration and had open sores on his ears. He added that the dog’s skeletal structures were visually prominent because of the loss of fat and muscle, and described the dog as being one step away from death.
Following the trial, the jury found Basile guilty as charged and he was sentenced to three years’ probation and 45 days of community service.
The Court of Appeals granted Basile leave to appeal. In its decision last week affirming his conviction, the court concluded, “In light of the trial testimony about the dog’s wasted appearance and dirty living conditions as well as defendant’s admissions, there can be no issue on this record whether defendant knowingly deprived the animal of or neglected or refused to furnish the basic necessities required to maintain the dog’s health.”