Mineola, NY - June 25, 2014 - Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice today announced animal cruelty charges against a Valley Stream man for causing the death of a mixed-breed pit bull boxer by leaving the animal in a hot car for hours with only one window open about four inches for air. The defendant had adopted the dog six months earlier from the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter.
Ian Kassof, 36, of Valley Stream, was arraigned today before Nassau District Court Judge Andrea Phoenix on an animal cruelty charge under Section 353 of New York State’s Agriculture and Markets Law (an A misdemeanor). If convicted, he faces up to one year in jail. He was released on his own recognizance, and is due back in court on July 24.
“Opening a car window a few inches is not enough to prevent tragedies like this one,” DA Rice said. “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 mistreatment of animals is a serious offense that requires swift action to be taken,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said. “We were pleased to work with District Attorney Kathleen Rice and her office on this important issue. We want to thank the District Attorney and her staff for their dedication to the well-being and humane treatment of animals.”
On June 4, 2014 at about 2:30 p.m., the Nassau County Police Department responded to a call about a dog locked inside of a vehicle that was not running and parked on McCarthy Road in North Long Beach.
Officers arriving on the scene found Kassof’s black Acura parked on the street with a black, white and brown mixed breed pit bull boxer in the front passenger section of the vehicle. The dog appeared to have suffered a stroke, was stiff, and leaning on his back against the front passenger seat.
The car had only the rear passenger window cracked open about four inches. There was no water bowl in the vehicle for the dog.
The defendant had taken the dog with him to work and left him in the car. Witnesses observed Kassof walking the dog at about 12:20 p.m.
The dog was seized as evidence by the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter. At 6:15 p.m., more than three hours since the call was made, a rectal temperature was taken of the dog and the temperature was 106.1 degrees Fahrenheit. A preliminary autopsy found that the injuries and appearance of the dog were consistent with seizure by overheating.
Assistant District Attorney Adrian Murphy of DA Rice’s Animal Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case. Kassof is represented by Anthony Rattoballi, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.