A Massapequa couple was arrested Wednesday and charged with torturing their dog after a veterinarian found it in their backyard wearing a collar so small that it had worked its way into the dog's neck and adhered to its trachea, prosecutors said.

Joseph Cione, 41, and Tara Cione, 33, were arrested Wednesday and charged with misdemeanor overdriving, torturing and injuring animals. They each face up to one year in jail if convicted and are scheduled to be arraigned later Wednesday in First District Court in Hempstead.

The couple could not be reached for comment.

Prosecutors said the couple bought the dog, which they named Athena, from a California breeder in October 2010 when she was 3 months old.

In June, when they were preparing to sell Athena, they called a veterinarian to treat a wound on the animal's neck. When the veterinarian arrived at the Ciones' home, she saw Athena in the backyard with flies buzzing around her.

The vet found that Athena's owners had never taken off the metal collar she wore as a puppy, and that over time it had embedded itself into her neck so deeply that her neck had healed over the collar.

After a successful surgery to remove the collar, prosecutors turned Athena over to NeoRescue, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting Neapolitan mastiffs.

Separately Wednesday, a Bellmore man was charged with misdemeanor failure to provide proper sustenance after prosecutors found that he abandoned his 10-year-old Labrador retriever without food or water. Jamie Flexer, 38, faces up to one year in jail if convicted and was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon in First District Court in Hempstead.

Prosecutors said when Flexer was evicted from his home, he left his dog, Graham, there. Flexer's ex-wife found the dog completely dehydrated and severely underweight, prosecutors said.

Graham, now in good health, is in the custody of Second Chance Labrador Retriever Rescue, prosecutors said.

"The cruelty and neglect these innocent animals suffered at the hands of their owners is unconscionable," Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. "These defendants watched their dogs suffer and waste away, and they did nothing. Now they will face the consequences."

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