A Valley Stream man is facing an animal cruelty charge after authorities said his dog died after he allegedly left the pet alone in a hot car for hours.
Authorities said defendant Ian Kassof, 36, had adopted the pit bull/boxer mix six months ago from the Town of Hempstead animal shelter, where the animal was known as Fluffy.
A judge released Kassof on his own recognizance Wednesday after his arraignment in Hempstead district court, officials said.
The misdemeanor offense could mean up to a year in jail if Kassof is convicted.
Authorities said Nassau police found the dead animal about 2:30 p.m. on June 4 after answering a call about a dog locked inside a parked Acura on McCarthy Road in Island Park.
One car window was open about 4 inches, authorities said, who added that there was no water bowl in the vehicle, where Kassof allegedly left the animal after going to his job.
Authorities said a post-mortem exam showed the dog's appearance was consistent with a seizure from overheating. Defense attorney Anthony Rattoballi of Valley Stream said his client, a utility company worker with no prior criminal convictions, pleaded not guilty Wednesday.
He said Kassof left all his car windows down 5 inches, and walked the dog and gave it water at lunchtime.
"It was about 70 degrees, and he didn't know the dog was in danger. . . . He's as upset as any other dog owner would be," Rattoballi said.