A Richmond Hill man faces charges of animal cruelty after he allegedly bred dogs for fighting and kept them under unhealthy and brutal conditions.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz charged Andrew Cato, 59, with a 92-count criminal complaint with aggravated animal cruelty, prohibition of animal fighting and other crimes last Wednesday.
The DA reported that scars on 27 dogs and dog fighting paraphernalia indicate that Cato allegedly bred dogs for fighting.
Cato was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Denise Johnson on a complaint charging him with three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, 35 counts of prohibition of animal fighting, 27 counts of failure to provide proper food and drink to impounded animal and 27 counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals and failure to provide sustenance. Judge Johnson ordered the defendant to return to court on Sept. 8. If convicted, Cato faces up to four years in prison.
On July 28, an NYPD Detective responding to neighbors’ complaints about barking dogs and bad smells from Cato’s backyard garage observed 17 pit bull-type dogs in the unventilated space that had the strong smell of animal waste and was infested by flies, according to the DA’s Office.
The officer found another 10 dogs housed in concrete enclosures that were soiled with urine and feces. The food was also contaminated with waste, said the DA’s report.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals veterinary and behavior experts conducted forensic exams on the dogs and determined that they all suffered from pain and discomfort due to various medical ailments and had dirty, stained, malodorous hair coats from living in a filthy environment with prolonged contact to urine and feces and lack of adequate grooming. ASPCA forensic exams revealed that some of the dogs had injuries consistent with dogfighting, including scarring. The ASPCA assisted in the rescue and removal of all the dogs and continues to provide ongoing medical and behavioral treatment and enrichment.