Danny Neira, 41, of Farmingdale, will perform 100 hours of community service, District Court Judge Sondra Pardes ruled. His wife, Rose Neira, 32, also of Farmingdale will serve three years' probation, Pardes ruled. Both will be legally prohibited from owning a pet for the next five years.
"For this amount of abuse and neglect to be directed at an innocent animal is unthinkable," said Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice in a statement.
Rice's office said the couple failed to provide food and medical care for the 2-year-old dog, and it weighed 87 pounds when it was discovered at the home Nov. 22, 2010. A normal, healthy Great Dane should weigh between 120 and 150 pounds at that age, prosecutors said.
The animal died Dec. 1, 2010, despite round-the-clock care from veterinarians, Rice's office said.
Speaking after the sentencing, Rose Neira said she and her husband never abused their dog. She said Zack had a bowel disease that made him emaciated, and that she was seeking veterinary care at the time of her arrest. She showed Newsday dozens of photos of her cuddling a healthy looking Zack not long before her arrest.
"My animals are like my children," she said.
The couple's attorney, Robert Del Grosso of Mineola, said he will appeal the case.
But Pardes said she saw the evidence at trial and was comfortable with the sentence.
"Whether you did this deliberately or inadvertently, a jury has found that you didn't adequately care for these animals," she said.