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DA: NYPD officer, wife had pets despite being banned for cruelty conviction

Rose Neira, and her husband, NYPD Officer Danny

Rose Neira, and her husband, NYPD Officer Danny Neira, of Farmingdale, convicted of misdemeanor animal neglect after failing to provide food and medical care for the 2-year-old Great Dane, leave a Hempstead courtroom on Dec. 18, 2012. Credit: Howard Schnapp

An NYPD officer and his wife were arrested Thursday because they allegedly violated a five-year ban on owning animals after they were convicted of starving their Great Dane, who later died.

Danny Neira, 43, the police officer, and Rose Neira, 34, of Farmingdale, were each arraigned on one count of second-degree criminal contempt, a misdemeanor.

Investigators with a search warrant went into the couple's home Thursday and found a dog, a cockatoo and a tarantula on the main floor, according to the Nassau County district attorney's office.

A judge in February had signed the ban against animals after the couple appealed and lost their 2012 jury conviction. They were found guilty of animal neglect by not feeding and getting medical care for Zack, a 2-year-old Great Dane who was skin and bones, weighing just 87 pounds though experts said he should have been between 120 and 150 pounds.

The dog, seized by authorities in 2010, gobbled up food at the veterinarian's office, but had so many health problems that he died 10 days later. After their 2012 sentencing, the couple denied neglecting Zack.

On May 21, a probation officer looked through a window of the couple's home and saw a large dog running around, authorities said.

The next morning, an investigator from the Nassau district attorney's office didn't get any answer at the front door but heard a dog barking and clawing at the front door, prosecutors said.

The couple's attorney hung up Thursday when reached by telephone.

The ban signed by Nassau District Court Judge Tricia Ferrell bars the couple from owning, harboring or having custody or control of any animals for five years, prosecutors said.

"Animal ownership is a privilege and not a right," acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a news release.

Bail for each was set at $500 Thursday. If convicted, each faces up to 1 year in jail.

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