A Farmingdale woman is facing animal cruelty charges after she starved and neglected her 2-year-old great Dane so badly that veterinarians could not save its life even after 10 days of around-the-clock care and extensive surgery, prosecutors said yesterday.
Rose Neira, 30, of Fallwood Parkway, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of overdriving, torturing and injuring an animal and failing to provide it with proper sustenance. If convicted, she could face up to a year in jail. She was released without bail.
Investigators from the Nassau County district attorney's office went to Neira's house Nov. 22 after getting several tips that she was neglecting an animal there, a spokesman for District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
They found the great Dane, Zack, weighing only 82 pounds, with protruding ribs and his backbone visible under his skin, prosecutors said. A healthy great Dane should weigh between 125 and 150 pounds, they said.
Zack's nails also were damaged, and his ear cavities were caked with dirt and grease, prosecutors said.
"Our pets depend on us for everything, from food to water to medical care, and are as vulnerable as children," Rice said in a statement. "There is no excuse for this level of cruelty."
Neira, who is represented by the Nassau Legal Aid Society, could not be reached for comment.
Neira at first told investigators that the dog was sick from parasites, prosecutors said. But she could not tell them the name of Zack's veterinarian or any medicine she was giving him, they said. She said she kept him in her kitchen and took him outside once a night.
The next day, investigators returned with a search warrant and took Zack to Oyster Bay Animal Hospital in Oyster Bay. There, he gobbled up the food he was given. He was treated for 10 days, but died Dec. 1.
Prosecutors said the veterinarians said Zack's heart was just too weak after months of malnourishment and neglect.
Neira is due back in court Jan. 3.