A Tompkins County man is facing felony animal cruelty charges after investigators say he intentionally ran over three young puppies. Tamara Lindstrom tells us the fate of those puppies and why investigators say it could have been prevented.
TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. -- For animal rescuers, it's a violent crime that's all too common.
"My reaction, at first, was definitely one of shock," said Jim Bouderau, executive director of the Tompkins County SPCA. "We hate to hear of these sort of things happening. But certainly I've been around long enough to know that this happens every day here."
The SPCA received 1,500 calls reporting cruelty or abuse last year. This crime, investigators say, began as a domestic disturbance and ended in death.
"We received a call late Sunday morning that an individual in the Town of Caroline had intentionally run over three puppies at his residence," said SPCA Humane Investigator Kate Walker.
When SPCA investigators arrived at the home, they found a gruesome scene: Two puppies crushed to death and one fighting for its life.
"The two puppies were laying on the ground and the third puppy was limping around pretty badly and having a lot of difficulty breathing," Walker said.
The surviving seven-week-old husky mix was taken to Cornell University Animal Hospital for emergency treatment.
"The third one, who was brought to the shelter, had three broken ribs and two leg fractures, one on the upper leg and one on the lower leg," Bouderau said.
Twenty-two-year-old Dustin White has been charged with three counts of felony aggravated animal cruelty.
Nicknamed "Tonka," the little puppy will recover from her injuries, but it won't be easy. She'll have to stay still in a small crate for the next two to six weeks.
"I actually saw her today and she looks much, much better," Walker said. "I was absolutely shocked that she survived."
Investigators say it is a crime that could have been prevented.
"If people are in a home where they feel they are unsafe or their animals are unsafe, they can always contact us and see what possibilities they have for them," Walker said.
Before an innocent animal winds up injured, or worse.
State Police are continuing to investigate the case. White is scheduled to appear in court next week.
The puppy's medical care will cost more than $2,000. For more on the puppy, or how you can help, head to www.spcaonline.com.