Authorities on Long Island have charged a married couple from Mineola in connection with the horrific deaths of two puppies and the near-death of a third.
Ellie Knoller, 29, and Jessica Kuncman, 30, were arraigned Wednesday in Nassau County Court where they pleaded not guilty. A judge released them and ordered them back to court on June 3.
Knoller is accused of beating two puppies—a Shepherd mix named Tucker and a golden-doodle named Cooper—so badly back in February that they died, according to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas and the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Tucker suffered a kidney rupture and extensive internal bleeding and Cooper died of a lacerated liver, authorities said.
A third puppy, a golden doodle named Bella, was also badly beaten, authorities said. She several broken ribs, bruising on her lungs, bleeding behind her eyes and a broken leg, officials said. Veterinary staff had to repair her leg with a metal rod and her other broken bones with a steel plate, the DA said.
"Three healthy puppies suffered horrific injuries while they were under the care and control of these defendants," Singas said in a statement. "Sadly, these animals can't testify about the unconscionable suffering that they endured, but their blunt force and neck trauma injuries tell a gruesome story, and we are committed to seeking justice on their behalf.
from a local pet adoption agency, and by February 17, the puppy was dead of a kidney rupture. It is alleged that Ellie Knoller inflicted blunt force trauma to the dog that resulted in the kidney rupture, causing the dog to suffer from extensive internal bleeding and die.
A grand jury indicted Knoller on three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, and three counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, a misdemeanor.
Kuncman was charged with overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, a misdemeanor. Authorities accused her of ignoring Bella's injuries for at least 15 hours before bringing her to a vet.
"After 35 years of animal crimes investigations, I have never seen a case like this," Nassau SPCA president Gary Rogers said in a statement. "To injure the internal organs of a dog takes a large amount of blunt force and great trauma, one could only imagine the suffering these dogs endured."
Bella's ongoing medical care is expensive, so the Nassau SPCA is asking for donations. If you can help, go to luckytobealive.ncspca.us.