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Ian Kassof charged with animal cruelty after dog dies in hot car, DA says

Ian Kassof, 36, of Valley Stream, was arraigned

Ian Kassof, 36, of Valley Stream, was arraigned Wednesday, June 25, 2014 on charges of an animal cruelty because authorities said his dog died after he allegedly left the pet alone in a hot car for hours, the district attorney's office said. Photo Credit: Nassau County DA

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.

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