Buffalo man who threw 8-week-old puppy multiple times in park facing animal cruelty charge

BUFFALO, NY – Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 22-year-old Navier Rodriguez of Buffalo was arraigned yesterday afternoon before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Debra Givens on an indictment charging him with one count of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals (Class “E” felony).

It is alleged that on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at approximately 10:47 a.m., the defendant intentionally hit his 8-week-old puppy and threw the dog to the ground multiple times. The puppy suffered extensive injuries to its mouth, including cuts and broken teeth. The incident, that was allegedly seen by multiple witnesses, occurred on Porter Avenue near Front Park in the City of Buffalo.

After the alleged incident, the puppy was placed in the custody of the SPCA Serving Erie County where it received veterinary care for its injuries. The puppy, now known as “Petey,” is in the care of a foster family.

Rodriguez is scheduled to return on 9/21/21 at 10:00 a.m. for motions. He remains released on his own recognizance as the charge is non-qualifying for bail.

At yesterday’s arraignment, Justice Givens signed an order prohibiting the defendant from owning any animals during the pendency of the case.

If convicted of the charge, Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison. 

“This defendant was indicted on the highest possible charge for savagely beating a defenseless puppy. Animal cruelty of any kind will not be tolerated in Erie County. I created an Animal Cruelty Unit in my office to ensure that these offenders are held accountable for their actions. I want to thank the SPCA Serving Erie County for their assistance in these criminal investigations and for the many services they provide to help these animals,” said Erie County DA John Flynn.

“Animal abuse cases are always heartbreaking and the SPCA is grateful to know that members of the grand jury felt that this case warranted aggravated animal cruelty charges. No animal deserves to suffer needlessly, much less a 8-week-old puppy. We are happy to help him on his road to recovery,” said Officer Lindsey Wood of the SPCA Serving Erie County.

DA Flynn commends Officer Wood, Buffalo Police Department, City of Buffalo Dog Control, and the United States Border Patrol for their work in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Megan E. Mahoney of the Animal Cruelty Unit.

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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