ST. GEORGE — The Staten Island District Attorney's office Wednesday opened a dedicated unit to prosecute animal abusers, who he said are five times more likely to commit violent crimes in the future.
"It is a predictive crime or a gateway for us to see some very alarming things," DA Michael McMahon said.
McMahon said the dedicated unit — the second of its kind in the city — will partner with the NYPD and the ASPCA to investigate and prosecute people who abuse animals on Staten Island.
"It'll help us educate the community about various resources and programs to prevent neglect, abuse and injuries to animals," McMahon said.
"It'll also help us facilitate relationships with Staten Islanders and local veterinarians to encourage the reporting of animal abuse as we speak out for those who don't have a voice, always the most vulnerable."
McMahon said that upwards of 75 percent of violent offenders in prison had previously abused animals and about 40 percent of domestic violence victims report they stay in an abusive relationship because they fear for the safety of their pets if they leave.
The unit will be led by Assistant District Attorney Jane Grinberg, who got a conviction in the case of Alsu Ivanchenko, the woman who stuffed her 3-month-old puppy in a plastic bag and threw her from a car window, McMahon said.
McMahon also used his news conference to announce the indictment of a New Brighton man for killing his wife's 2-month-old Chihuahua, Bambi.
Jerry Moore, 38, was hit with a 11-count indictment Wednesday for allegedly abusing Bambi from March 12 to March 24, leading the puppy to eventually be euthanized March 26 after being treated for traumatic brain injury, McMahon said.
On March 12, Moore allegedly strangled the 2-pound dog, causing difficulty breathing, then threw Bambi into a wall of their Jersey Street apartment March 24, McMahon said.
On March 24, Moore's wife left her apartment and found Bambi crying and unable to move when she returned home, McMahon said.
He also violated his order of protection against his wife during those times, McMahon said.
The ASPCA determined Bambi's cause of death to be caused by a traumatic brain injury as a result of blunt force trauma.
Moore was indicted on aggravated cruelty to animals, criminal contempt, intimidating a victim or witness, tampering with a witness and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was held on $50,000 bail.
Moore's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.