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Correction Officer, Manhattan Resident Arrested in Separate Dog Abuse Cases

By Aidan Gardiner | January 14, 2013 2:21pm

NEW YORK CITY — A city correction officer and a Manhattan man have been arrested for allegedly abusing dogs in separate incidents, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Justin Burton, the correction officer, was arrested January 5 after investigators determined that he had neglected to properly care for his 1-year-old male pit bull mix, Tori, according to ASPCA.

Burton, 35, surrendered Tori to an Animal Care and Control facility on Oct. 5, officials said. Workers there noticed a severe wound around the puppy's neck and notified the ASPCA's enforcement wing, Humane Law Enforcement.

Investigators found that the puppy was afflicted with an embedded collar, which occurs when owners don't loosen a collar as an animal grows, ultimately shredding its skin, officials said.

Tori was taken to the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital and treated.

The puppy will be made available for adoption once he fully recovers.

Burton has been charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty and faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

In a separate incident, Jerome Smith, 23, was arrested on December 18 for allegedly starving two 10-month-old terrier mix puppies, named Jack and Jill.

Smith, of Manhattan, abandoned Jack and Jill in his Lenox Avenue apartment after he was evicted, leaving them to starve, authorities said.

Animal Care and Control officials recovered the dogs on September 11 and later took them to Bergh Memorial.

Jack weighed 12.7 pounds, while Jill weighed 8.5 pounds, officials said. Both dogs gained significant, but healthy weight and have been adopted.

Their former owner has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, faces two years in jail and a $2,000 fine, if convicted.