UPDATE: An investigation into a video that appeared to show an Oceanside man poking a caged dog with a stick has been closed without resulting in criminal charges, the Nassau County district attorney’s office said.
Prosecutors said they did not charge dog trainer Brian DeMartino, 46, after determining that the date, time and jurisdiction of the video couldn’t be authenticated and after showing a longer, unedited version to several dog training experts, including those with national humane associations, “who declined to say that the methodologies depicted and narrated went beyond industry standards.”
In a separate action, DeMartino accepted a conditional plea to a violation for sending what prosecutors described as a “menacing text” to the man who posted the video on social media. He satisfied all plea conditions and that matter is now sealed, the district attorney’s office said.
The story below was originally published on Dec. 11, 2016.
A man appearing to shove a pole aggressively at a dog inside an animal crate in a widely viewed video shot at an Oceanside dog-training facility, is believed to be the business’ owner, said Gary Rogers, the head of the Nassau County SPCA.
The video, which Rogers called “disturbing,” was posted Friday night on Facebook. It shows a pit bull at NYDogWorks in Oceanside cowering and yelping, while appearing to be poked repeatedly by Brian DeMartino, 44, who owns the board-away dog training facility, Rogers said.
DeMartino could not be reached for comment after several attempts.
NYDogWorks says on its website that DeMartino owns and operates the facility. The website describes DeMartino as a master certified dog trainer and behavior specialist.
“He’s Mastered the Art of teaching top knotch obedience and manners with outstanding results and has developed the most full proof and guaranteed system to fully housebreak any puppy or dog in the shortest amount of time,” the website says.
Rogers said DeMartino operates the dog-training company out of his Luis Place home.
“From our knowledge, it appears to be the owner,” Rogers said in an interview Sunday, adding that the SPCA is the investigating agency. By Sunday afternoon, the investigation was well underway, he said.
“We’re still conducting interviews and trying to find out exactly what is going on to make a determination of what to do,” he said. “We’re moving very quickly.”
Rogers said SPCA investigators enforce animal-cruelty laws.
“Like any other law enforcement agency, we will turn over to the proper authorities [the findings of the investigation]. The video is very disturbing,” he said.
The video surfaced through a private Facebook group, New Yorkers STOP Drugs & Crime, but group administrator Tommy Marrone later shared the clip on his own profile. It had more than 81,000 views as of Sunday afternoon and more than 3,840 shares. Marrone had previously boarded his German shepherd at the facility.
Marrone, 43, of Oceanside, said he and his wife sent their German shepherd Zeus to the facility in June for two weeks of training. He said he found the video disturbing.
“I was heartbroken for the dogs,” he said. “But then I was just in shock. What happened to my dog while he was there?”
Rogers said that “in Nassau County, animal cruelty is taken very seriously and if it turns out to be animal cruelty we would file the charges.”
With Laura Blasey