A Queens, New York, man is facing several charges after police said he brought his severely malnourished dog to an animal shelter and lied about owning it.
Anthony Esteves, 25, is accused of pretending to be a hero by bringing the boxer, Brewster, to the shelter and saying he found the emaciated dog. Investigators later determined he was actually the dog’s owner and had failed to properly care for or feed him, the Queens District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
“It is alleged that the emaciated animal was severely malnourished and did not have the energy to walk when the defendant brought the animal to the shelter,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “The defendant is accused of showing a complete disregard for the well being of this helpless animal when he failed to provide the basic necessities required to maintain the animal’s health.”
The dog weighed just 25 pounds when it should have been about 60 to 65 pounds, authorities said. He is now in the care of Adopt a Boxer Rescue, and is staying with a foster family.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Esteves Allegedly Told the Shelter He Found the Dog in a Park
Anthony Esteves brought the dog, Brewster, to the Animal Care and Control Shelter on Queens Boulevard on October 13, the Queens County District Attorney said in a press release.
Esteves told the shelter employees he found the dog in a park. He allegedly gave the employees a false home address. The shelter said Brewster did not have the energy to walk and “after (the) dog left there were blood stains in the kennel.”
Esteves first told the shelter he wanted to adopt the dog if it healed, but later retracted his interest in adopting him, DA’s office said.
Police began looking into the abuse case after receiving an inquiry from the New York Daily News. The newspaper told police Esteves had given the shelter a false address, one that was next door to where he actually lived.
Esteves told police “various stories about who the dog belonged to and how he obtained the dog before finally admitting that the dog was his and that he did not want the dog to die in his bedroom.”
2. The Only Dog Food Dish In Esteves’ Home Held Personal Belongings, Police Say
Police went to Esteves’ home in Queens on October 19 with search warrant, the district attorney’s office said. He “continued to provide authorities with various explanations as to how he had obtained the dog and why the dog was undernourished.”
Investigators found inside Esteves’ house, “a dog’s food dish which contained Esteves’ personal items from the top of a dresser and which did not fit the dog bowl stand in the room.”
Police said “there were allegedly no receipts for dog food, veterinary care, dietary supplements for dogs nor was there any dog food anywhere in the house nor evidence of dog food ever having been in the house.”
3. He Faces Up to 4 Years in Prison if Convicted
Esteves was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, first-degree falsifying business records, two counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals and failure to provide sustenance, the Queens County District Attorney says in a press release.
He faces up to four years in prison if convicted. He was released from custody and is set to appear in court again on December 15, 2015.
The investigation was conducted by the NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad, led by Detective Nicholas Salvitti, along with Animal Care and Control of New York City, the ASPCA and Adopt a Boxer, a nonprofit charitable organization.
4. Experts Said It Takes Weeks for a Healthy Dog to Become as Emaciated as Brewster
The district attorney’s office said Brewster ranked as a one on the Purina Scale. The scale runs from level one (very emaciated) to level nine (very obese), with level five being healthy and hale. The boxer rated as level one, according to an ASPCA forensic veterinarian who looked at the dog one week after he was brought to the shelter by Esteves.
“The veterinarian allegedly stated that it would take weeks, if not months, for a dog of such size to be assessed at level one if the dog had started out as healthy.”
Adopt a Boxer, which became involved in Brewster’s case after he was brought to the shelter, said in a post on its website, “Brewster was found as a stray. He is estimated to be about 3 years old, and is one of the worst cases of an emaciated boxer we have ever seen. Our volunteers were able to visit with Brewster today, and he was waggin his little nub! He is holding his own, but not out of the woods yet. Our vets and volunteers will do everything possible to care for this great little boxer. Words can’t describe how angry this makes us. How did he get this way? Was he a stray that no one saw until he got like this… Or was he starved and then pushed out to die?”
5. Brewster Has Shown Improvement & Will Be Up for Adoption
Brewster spent time in an animal hospital, and is now staying in a foster home in Manhattan with a volunteer from Adopt a Boxer.
“His temperament is amazing,” his foster mom, Dr. Amy Swift, told People. “He’s amazing with my 13-month-old daughter and great with everyone on the street.”
She said the dog shows “zero aggression,” and “you literally couldn’t tell that this dog had gone through anything rough in his entire life.”
He will take several weeks to fully recover, but will be put up for adoption. The charity organization says on its website:
So…you want to adopt Brewster. Here is what you need to know before applying –
It will be several weeks before Brewster is well enough to be released to an adoptive home. During that time, he will be fostered in close proximity to one of our vets so he can continue to receive medical care.
Our adoption area covers a span roughly from CT south through northern VA. You MUST live within our coverage area to qualify to adopt. We will not ship a dog out of our area.
Brewster can only be adopted by one home. We anticipate receiving many, many applications. Apply if, and only if, you are willing to adopt a different dog from us should you not be selected as Brewster’s new family. We have over 50 other dogs who need homes just as badly as Brewster.
Our volunteers are just that – volunteers. We anticipate getting dozens of applications for Brewster. Please give us the time to work through them all. And when we find the perfect match for him, please be happy for him and then be ready to open your heart and home to one of his brothers or sisters on our website.
Thanks for caring about all the boxers needing homes.
You can click here to apply to adopt Brewster. “Read through the information carefully. Within that document, you will see a link to the actual application,” the organization says.
Donations to Adopt a Boxer can be made here.