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Miss Harper abuser gets jail time doubled by judge

Lee Hughes, 42, was sentenced to 1 year

Lee Hughes, 42, was sentenced to 1 year in jail in the case of Miss Harper, a pit bull mix whose leg and ears were cut off by an unlicensed worker at an Elmont veterinary office in 2013. Credit: Brittany Wait

A judge doubled the expected jail time Wednesday for a Westbury man who twice missed sentencing for his role in his puppy’s botched leg amputation by an unlicensed veterinary office worker.

Lee Hughes, 42, was sentenced to 1 year in jail in the case of Miss Harper, a then-7-month-old pit bull mix whose leg bone and tissue were left exposed in 2013 after he and his wife, Shawanna Hughes, took the dog to Reginald Smith, who cut off the puppy’s hind leg and ears at an Elmont veterinary office.

Hughes twice missed sentencing on two felony counts of unauthorized practice of a profession and one felony count of aggravated animal cruelty. He suddenly went into the hospital at one time and the other time he said he was stuck in traffic.

It was Hughes’ second animal abuse conviction, prosecuted by the state attorney general’s office. In the first case, brought by the Nassau district attorney case, he and his wife served jail time in the case of Snowball, a dog that had trouble breathing because her neck was so infected, possibly by a chemical burn, and that had a broken leg that had to be amputated.

Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti also banned Lee Hughes from owning animals for five years and ordered him to pay $12,000 restitution for Miss Harper’s care.

The pit bull puppy’s spurred the creation of Nassau’s animal abuser registry and helped fund the resurrection of the Nassau County SPCA. Shawanna Hughes was sentenced to a year in jail and Smith to 3 years’ conditional discharge.

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