An Astoria bodybuilder is being held without bail at Riker’s Island, charged with throwing his dog out of a third-story window to his death. His attorney is recommending that a psychiatric evaluation of his client be conducted to determine whether he is fit to stand trial, according to Kevin Ryan, a spokesman for the Queens DA’s office.
Milan Rysa, 30, allegedly tossed his 50-pound shar-pei, Brooklyn, out of his apartment window on Steinway Street at around 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 12, Ryan said.
Rysa told police he was the owner of the dog and had let it out of the apartment to go to the roof, according to Ryan, where neighbors told the Daily News, he allowed the dog to relieve itself, before turning off the lights and going to bed.
“It’s just disgusting,” said Lori Scharpino, the founder of Heavenly Angels Animal Rescue, based in Astoria, who organized a protest vigil in Brooklyn’s memory Tuesday outside the apartment. “We have to do whatever we can to get justice for this dog. There is never justice for these animals. They just let people get away with a slap on the wrist and that is just not acceptable.”
Rysa was arrested and charged with animal cruelty and second-degree reckless endangerment, according to the DA’s office. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center for a psychiatric evaluation, according to the NYPD. The second exam would be more in-depth, Ryan said. Rysa is scheduled to be back in court on Sept. 23.
The bodybuilder may have been suffering from roid rage, extremely aggressive or hostile behavior associated with taking large doses of steroids. Some studies suggest that the condition is not a suitable legal defense for a person who has committed violent acts, since the individual may already have such tendencies.
Rysa faces one year in prison on the animal cruelty charge and one year for reckless endangerment, according to Ryan, who noted that the dog narrowly missed striking two women before hitting the pavement.
Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said last Thursday that he had received calls and messages from at least 100 constituents who were outraged over the incident. Many of them posted their thoughts on his Facebook page.
“This guy is a disgrace to humanity and a future serial killer. Is he going to hurt a child or a person next? I don’t understand how people who heard the poor dog being abused didn’t do anything to help. Animal abuse is a crime,” posted Maria Tsucalas.
Vallone, who considers himself an animal rights activist and pet lover, said he plans to work to ensure that Rysa receives the punishment he deserves, including prison time.
Vallone is also investigating why the ASPCA wasn’t notified right away and why an autopsy was not performed on the canine.
The lawmaker, who called Rysa a “punk” and a “creep,” loves dogs and noted that his children have a Bichon Frise named Gus Gus after the mouse in the Disney movie “Cinderella.”
The number of alleged animal abusers in Queens arrested by the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Department have doubled from six in 2010 to 12 so far this year, according to ASPCA spokesman Bret Hopman. Last year there were 20 cases in Brooklyn compared to 10 this year, nine in the Bronx increasing to 10 this year, eight in Manhattan decreasing to two this year and eight in Staten Island compared to none this year.
Three main categories of animal abusers exist, according to the ASPCA. Some don’t think about or realize what they’re doing. Others commit the acts on purpose, but don’t hurt the animal more than a few times because they eventually recognize the behavior is wrong. Finally, there are those who intentionally hurt animals because they enjoy it or because it makes them feel powerful.
All the people in that group suffer from serious psychological problems that will probably not go away on their own, according to the ASPCA. Research has shown that there is a strong connection between animal abuse and other crimes, such as drug offenses, gang activity, weapons violations, sexual assault and domestic violence.
Rysa has several beefcake photos of himself on his Facebook page as well an album of Brooklyn photos titled “My Lil Bad Boy.” Neighbors supposedly witnessed the owner abusing the animal previously and leaving it unattended on the roof for hours in the heat, but did not intervene, according to published reports.
“What a sick and demented mind,” Mitch Paluszek posted of Rysa on Vallone’s Facebook page. “Whether mentally ill or morally twisted, this person should not be allowed to walk the streets. It’s just heartbreaking to think of a living thing being hurled through the air like this by the person he presumably trusted. So sad.”