A Brentwood couple who had a dead dog chained in their yard were arrested Monday after an animal rescue group got a tip and rescued the canine’s underweight companion, Suffolk police said.
Short, heavy tow chains kept Bella and Arielle, female pit bulls about three years old, in a feces-filled yard by the back door, where the owners were giving instructions to workers replacing the house siding Monday morning as Almost Home Animal Rescue arrived, said Fran Cohen, one of the four rescuers at the scene.
“How do you have workers there when you know they’re going to see that?” said Cohen, whose group called the police. “There’s no conscience there.”
Argelys Paulino, 34, and his wife, Elma Paulino, 37, were arrested at their Hancock Street home and charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly violating a Suffolk County law that requires chains to be at least 15 feet long, authorities said. Police said each of the two dogs’ chains was five feet.
The couple could not be reached Monday.
Bella’s body was found halfway in an uninsulated, plastic dog shelter, her ribs and pressure sores visible in photos.
There was no food and water in sight, Cohen said, until rescuers from the Patchogue-based group put down a little kibble for Arielle, who scarfed it up in two seconds. She was friendly and was taken to the Islip Town animal shelter, officials said.
Cohen said the couple had a small dog, who was kept inside the house and was in good condition, but the pit bulls appeared to have been kept outside for some time.
“The live dog had so much dirt on her that one of our volunteers’ hands were black from petting her,” Cohen said.
She said the Paulinos gave various stories about who was responsible for the dogs. At one point, Elma Paulino said her teenaged children were supposed to feed them, and another time, she said they belonged to a son who is in the Cuban Army.
Elma Paulino said she didn’t know why Bella died but told Almost Home volunteers that she doesn’t know the last time the dogs were fed, Cohen said.
“It’s unbelievable how disconnected somebody is from something like that,” the Almost Home volunteer said. “It was just very matter of fact. Very heartbreaking.”
The Paulinos are scheduled to be arraigned April 16.
Police said further charges are possible pending the outcome of a necropsy and a veterinary examination of Arielle.
Suffolk County’s Outdoor Restraint of Pets Law bars the following:
Restraints such as leashes less than 15 feet long.
Tying dog outside for more than one hour out of 12 straight hours between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Tying dogs outside between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Confining dogs outside when the temperature is below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees or when the National Weather Service issues a heat or wind chill advisory, a watch or a warning.
Confining dogs that are less than six months old, nursing mothers with their offspring and sick or injured dogs.