West Hempstead man charged with abandoning badly neglected dog at Freeport shelter, Nassau prosecutor says

A West Hempstead man has been charged with abandoning Athena, a severely malnourished and neglected dog, at a shelter in Freeport earlier this month, Nassau prosecutors said on Friday.

Damian Douglas, 41, of West Hempstead, is charged with excessive driving, overloading, torturing, assaulting, wounding, maiming, maiming or killing an animal and abandoning an animal , two misdemeanors.

He was arraigned on Friday in Hempstead before Nassau District Court Judge David Levine where he was given an appearance ticket and released on his own recognizance as the charges are not eligible for arraignment. bail.

“The defendant allegedly kept his dog in a crate outside his home for at least eight months and left his animal to suffer from open wounds, severe malnutrition and muscle wasting,” said the Nassau District Attorney, Anne Donnelly. “This is one of the worst cases of extreme confinement and animal cruelty we have ever seen in this county.”

The Nassau County Legal Aid Society, which represented Douglas during his arraignment, declined to comment.

The arrest comes two weeks after CCTV showed a man, now identified as Douglas, dropping off a pet carrier containing a severely emaciated four-year-old dog at Bobbi and the Strays, a shelter in Freeport, July 7.

Athena, who was named by local veterinary staff, had numerous open wounds and severe loss of muscle mass, prosecutors said. She was taken to a shelter in Howard Beach, Queens, for treatment.

Earlier this month, Donnelly and Nassau SPCA Board Chairman Gary Rogers held a press conference announcing a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction. of the person responsible for endangering Athena, who Rogers described as a woman of mixed race. The prosecutor’s office confirmed that no one had received a reward in the case.

Athena, Rogers said, was forced to live for what was likely months in a cramped pet cage in her own feces and urine.

“This dog has no muscle mass, can barely stand,” Rogers said at the time. “He has bedsores, urine burns, underweight. … It’s the worst neglect I’ve ever seen.”

Douglas allegedly purchased the dog, then known as “Skyy,” from a breeder in Greensboro, North Carolina, prosecutors said.

He began keeping her in a crate on an enclosed porch outside his home in November while taking Skyy for periodic walks, officials said.

But starting in February, Douglas stopped taking the dog out of the crate altogether, prosecutors said.

Douglas is due back in court on August 2 and faces up to 364 days in jail.