Dog abuser sentenced to weekends in jail

Escrito por Nuria Querol i Viñas. Publicado en News in English.

PUTNAM VALLEY, N.Y. -- A man will spend the next 20 weekends in jail for kicking a neighbor's 15-year-old dog to death. Man jailed for kicking 15-year-old dog to death


January 13, 2006, 11:38 AM EST

PUTNAM VALLEY, N.Y. -- A man will spend the next 20 weekends in jail for kicking a neighbor's 15-year-old dog to death.

Putnam Valley Town Justice Louis DiCarlo ordered the jail sentence and a $1,000 fine for Frank Aquino, 41. Aquino also must pay $485 in restitution and do 50 hours of community service once his jail time is completed.

Aquino pleaded guilty to animal cruelty on Oct. 13 for causing the death of Roxi, a mixed breed German shepherd.

The dog wandered onto Aquino's property, in Putnam County, during a Memorial Day barbecue in 2004. Aquino kicked her so hard that she limped over to a nearby bush and was found dead an hour later.

Aquino apologized in court on Thursday to a visibly upset Bill and Lisa Sampson, who had raised Roxi since she was a puppy.

The Sampsons have since adopted a new dog, named Chance, according to The Journal News.

Dog abuser sentenced to weekends in jail

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(Original publication: January 13, 2006)

PUTNAM VALLEY — A 41-year-old Putnam Valley man, who three months ago pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, was sentenced yesterday to serve weekends in jail through March, pay a fine and do community service for kicking his neighbors' 15-year-old dog so hard that it died the same day.

Frank Aquino is expected to report to the Putnam County jail at 7 p.m. today and will be released at 7 p.m. Sunday. The 60-day term ends March 12, after which he must perform 50 hours of community service. The short-term alternative jail sentence is known as "shock probation" and limits incarceration to weekends, allowing first-time offenders to briefly experience prison time.

Aquino, a United Parcel Service worker in Westchester County for 16 years, offered his first apology yesterday to Bill and Lisa Sampson since their dog, Roxi, wandered into his yard during a May 30 barbecue.

"I am truly sorry for the pain I have caused," he said at his hearing in Town Court, where he stood solemnly and avoided eye contact with the Sampsons, who were visibly upset during the proceeding.

"Not a day goes by that I don't regret what has happened," Aquino said while reading from a statement he pulled from a pocket of his pinstriped three-piece suit.

Town Justice Louis DiCarlo described Aquino's act as "callous and horribly cruel."

"Your actions bespeak some sort of emotional or mental issue," he said.

Aquino's attorney said the judge was overly harsh.

"I am extremely disappointed that the judge felt the need to concede to intense media frenzy and Internet pressure," said Joseph Tock of Mahopac. "My client is not a monster."

In addition to weekends in jail, Aquino must pay $485 in restitution to the Sampsons and a $1,000 fine to the town. He will be on probation for three years and must submit to a mental-health evaluation. He already has completed anger-management classes.

The Sampsons, who had raised Roxi since she was a puppy, said they were relieved Aquino will serve some time behind bars for kicking their 45-pound, mixed-breed German shepherd, who was hard of hearing.

"I am glad he didn't walk on it. It sets a precedent for the next person," said Bill Sampson, an explosives operator on construction sites. He and his wife, a college development officer, have begun a campaign to get stiffer penalties for animal abusers. The couple, who have an infant son, have adopted a new dog named Chance, who was rescued in Tennessee.

Putnam County District Attorney Kevin Wright said Aquino's "strong punishment" should send a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.

Lydia Antoncic of the Animal Welfare Trust in Mamaroneck said she wasn't moved by Aquino's conciliatory remarks but deemed the sentence fair. She spoke after the hearing outside court, where a small group had gathered with signs that said "zero tolerance for animal abusers."

Aquino was arrested June 9 on a charge of aggravated animal cruelty, a felony. That charge was dropped Oct. 13, and Aquino pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor. This was his first arrest, his attorney said, adding that the Aquino family had received 60 threatening letters and telephone calls, and three death threats that are being investigated by the FBI.

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