A Uniondale, New York man arrested for allegedly burning and beating his girlfriend’s cat was arraigned Friday after being charged with several offenses by the Nassau County District Attorney.
Giovanni Santiago, 20, began abusing Verona, his girlfriend’s cat, on September 2, 2016. The abuse continued until December 8 when the girlfriend brought Verona to Long Island Animal Hospital and the veterinarian reported the injuries to the NCDA Animal Crimes Unit.
Between September and December, Verona suffered multiple fractures to her tail vertebrae, broken and fractured teeth, facial swelling, abdominal bruising, puncture wounds, scabbing, and loss of fur. Her owner thought she was suffering from an autoimmune disease and took her to the vet on several occasions.
Charges of criminal mischief, aggravated cruelty to animals and torturing and injuring animals have been filed, with Santiago being arraigned on April 14, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas reported.
In an interview with CBS New York, Singas stated
“This defendant is accused of truly despicable and depraved acts of animal cruelty which left a helpless cat with permanent disfiguring injuries. Because there is a correlation between animal abuse and violence toward people, I will continue to advocate for tougher penalties for animal crimes. I commend the veterinarian who brought us this case and the members of our Animal Crimes Unit for their hard work and dedication.”
Verona has permanent scarring on her left side where her fur won’t grow back. She also has a permanent tail disfigurement. Her veterinary costs totaled $2,483.45. She’s currently in the care of North Shore Animal League and will be up for adoption once she’s healthy enough for a forever family.
It’s reported the girlfriend was unaware of the alleged abuse. An investigation found Santiago was alone with the cat and had the opportunity to inflict the injuries. Although The NCDA requested $50,000 cash bail or bond be ordered, Santiago was released to probation and ordered not to have contact with any animal.
Although The NCDA requested $50,000 cash bail or bond be ordered, Santiago was released to probation and ordered not to have contact with any animal. His next court date is May 9. If convicted of all charges, Santiago faces 2 1/3 to seven years in prison.
I’m sorry, but I find it hard to believe the owner didn’t realize the abuse was taking place. Verona suffered very visible (as well as painful) injuries. How do you attribute small holes, fractured teeth and burns to an autoimmune disease?
It’s a shame the recommendation by the NCDA was denied. This is clearly a sadistic man, who has plenty of time prior to his court date to escalate to harming a person. I’m worried about the girlfriend at this point. He was ordered to stay away from animals, but no mention of an order of protection. I hope she broke off the relationship.