A Hempstead man who prosecutors say abused two pit bulls, including one found dead in his backyard, has been charged with animal cruelty and dogfighting.

Reuben Phillips, 33, was arrested Friday by Nassau district attorney investigators and charged with two counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, and failure to provide proper sustenance; and one count of prohibition of animal fighting, all misdemeanors. He faces up to 2 years in jail if convicted, prosecutors said Monday. Phillips is represented by the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, which does not comment on cases.

Prosecutors said an investigator checking out an anonymous tip found a tan, injured male pit bull named Rahman in Phillips' backyard Thursday.

The dog was extremely thin, with ribs, hips and pelvic bones visible through his coat, and had numerous raw and untreated wounds on his ears and neck, prosecutors said. There were also numerous healed scars on Rahman's face, neck, legs, feet and body, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say the injuries appear to be from dog fights.

Another pit bull, a white and tan male named Snow, was found dead, lying on its side in a hole in the yard. Phillips said the dog must have died during the night, but offered no explanation about why, according to prosecutors.

Both dogs were taken to the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, where the surviving dog remains.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has written and proposed legislation that would increase the penalties for animal cruelty, neglect and dogfighting. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) and Assemb. Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), is currently pending in Albany.

"This level of violence and neglect directed at innocent animals is precisely the reason why I introduced new legislation to modernize and strengthen the existing criminal statutes in New York State," Rice said. "No animal should suffer the abuse these two dogs have, and my office will continue to stand up and give a voice to the victims of animal crimes."

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Biden to address nation . . . Big Lots closes . . . St. Rocco's Feast  Credit: Newsday

Updated 32 minutes ago Plane crash investigation . . . Farmingdale bus crash suit . . . Secret Service boss resigns . . . St. Rocco's Feast 

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