A Valley Stream man faces up to one year in jail for an animal cruelty charge for allegedly causing the death of a dog after he left the animal in his car as he went to work, according to a press release from the Nassau County District Attorney's office.
Ian Kassof, 36, was arraigned on June 25 before Nassau District Court Judge Andrea Phoenix and faces an Class A misdemeanor under Section 353 of New York State’s Agriculture and Market Laws. He denies intentionally trying to harm the dog.
On June 4 at approximately 2:30 p.m., the Nassau County Police Department responded to a call about a dog locked inside of a vehicle parked on McCarthy Road in North Long Beach.
Police found Kassof’s black Acura with the dog, a black, white and brown mixed-breed pit bull boxer, leaning on his back, stiff, against the front passenger seat.
The car had only the rear passenger window cracked open about four inches with no water bowl for the dog. Witnesses said they observed Kassof walking the dog at approximately 12:20 p.m.
“Opening a car window a few inches is not enough to prevent tragedies like this one,” District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in the release. “This owner should have known better than to trap his dog for hours in his car without adequate ventilation or water. A parked car on a hot day, even with a window cracked open, is a potentially deadly place for any living thing.”
The Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter seized the dog as evidence, and at 6:15 p.m., more than three hours after the call was made, a rectal temperature reading indicated the dog’s temperature was 106.1 degrees Fahrenheit. A preliminary autopsy found that the dog’s appearance and injuries were consistent with a seizure by overheating.
“The mistreatment of animals is a serious offense that requires swift action to be taken,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said in the release.
Assistant District Attorney Adrian Murphy, of Rice’s Animal Crimes Unit, is prosecuting the case. Anthony Rattoballi is the attorney representing Kassof.
Rattoballi told the Herald that he believes his client has been overcharged. He said the police only charged him with a violation, and is now being charged with a misdemeanor.