Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini has announced the indictment of a Brentwood man for allegedly strangling and killing a dog while on a FaceTime video call with his family members.
Keenan Castro, 23, is charged with Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree, a class D felony; Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, a class E felony; Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony; Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony; Intimidating a Victim or Witness in the Third Degree, a class E felony; Overdriving, Torturing or Injuring Animals, a class A misdemeanor; Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor; and three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a class A misdemeanor.
“I want to thank the Suffolk County Police Department for their work on this case as well as the prosecutors from our Enhanced Prosecution Bureau, which is doing incredible work on the animal rights front,” District Attorney Sini said. “My Office is currently working on proposed legislation to increase penalties for anyone who kills a defenseless animal. This is an unfortunate case, but we will hold this defendant accountable and we will get justice on behalf of all the victims, including the dog and its owner.”
“Castro’s inhumane and appalling actions will have a lasting impact on the families involved,” Suffolk County Acting Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron said. “I would like to commend the Third Squad detectives who investigated this case and apprehended the suspect as well as members of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for furthering the investigation and ensuring Castro faces the consequences for his actions.”
On May 9, Castro found a Chihuahua-Dachshund mix named Donny that had escaped from a Central Islip home. After keeping the dog for nearly one month, on June 1, Castro was on a FaceTime video call with four of his family members, including three children, when he allegedly strangled and killed the dog.
During the call, and in subsequent calls and text messages, Castro allegedly threatened family members not to report the incident to law enforcement. Castro also allegedly threatened a family member via text messages that he would strangle her like he did the dog.
Police officers and detectives from the Suffolk County Police Department’s Third Precinct conducted an investigation and recovered the dog’s remains at a waste transfer facility in Holbrook on June 4.
A preliminary necropsy was conducted, which revealed manual strangulation, skull fracture and brain contusions as contributing factors to the cause of death.
Castro was arraigned on the indictment today by Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice John Collins and was remanded pending results of a competency evaluation. Castro is being represented by Scott Zerner and is due back in court on July 12.
If convicted of the top count, Castro faces a maximum sentence of two and one-third to seven years in prison.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Laura Sarowitz, of the Enhanced Prosecution Bureau.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.