A Mastic woman has been charged with being the driver caught on video pushing her white poodle out of her car at a gas station last month, then driving off as the dog circled the vehicle and ran after it, the Suffolk County SPCA said Monday.
A tip led authorities to Josephine Rivera, 33, who was arrested Monday at her home at 46 Stuyvesant Ave. and charged with misdemeanor abandonment, accused of dumping her dog June 23 at the Exxon gas station on Montauk Highway in Mastic. She could not be reached Monday night.
A witness told authorities he had boxed her in with his vehicle shortly after she drove away from the gas pump, and after confronting her, she let the dog back into her car, promising to take his advice to hand her pet over to the shelter, said SPCA chief Roy Gross.
But park police found the dog alone later that day at Smith Point County Park, several miles away in Shirley, and took him to the Brookhaven Town animal shelter, Gross said.
"Apparently, what she did was release the dog at Smith Point park, her second attempt to abandon the dog," he said.
In the gas station video, the driver of a white sedan could be seen tossing a white dog out of the backseat. The dog ran around the car, peering inside, and at one point was on its hind legs, its paws on the hood of the car, as if asking to be let back in, Gross said.
There were four young children on the backseat, and an older child in the front passenger seat dumped food out, distracting the dog, Gross said. The video then shows the car taking off and the dog racing after it.
The case generated much media attention and a $2,000 reward from the SPCA. Tips came after the witness described the driver as a woman in her 30s, with a name tattooed on the right side of her neck and a small lip piercing on her lower lip.
Gross said the dog may be adopted by its foster parent.