OSWEGO, NY – On July 16, 2015, Deena Rossi, 40, of Mexico, was sentenced in New Haven Town Court after previously pleading guilty “as charged” to two counts of Torturing or Injuring an Animal / Failure to Provide Sustenance, a Class A Misdemeanor.
The presiding judge, Hon. Dale Little, sentenced Rossi to 6 months of intermittent incarceration, fined her $400, and ordered her to perform 150 hours of community service.
Additionally, the court ordered her to pay $914 in restitution for medical bills and costs associated with Apollo’s care following his rescue.
As a condition of the plea and sentence, Rossi cannot own a dog for 1 year, the longest period allowed by law.
Rossi was arrested in December of last year after the New York State Police were contacted by the Paws & Effect animal shelter about a black Labrador who had been found wandering near State Route 104 in the town of Scriba.
The dog, who is now known as “Apollo,” was emaciated and severely underweight.
Apollo was treated by a veterinarian and was adopted out once he had recovered.
The investigation by the New York State Police revealed that a second black Labrador who had lived with Rossi had died as a result of dehydration and malnutrition.
Attorney Kimberly Steele volunteered her services as Apollo’s “attorney” and worked closely with the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office on behalf of her canine client.
After sentencing, Attorney Steele said, “We cannot thank the DA’s Office enough for their diligent and thorough work in this matter. What was once a silent voice in our system was heard very loud and clear in this case.”
District Attorney Gregory Oakes said that the successful prosecution of this case is due to teamwork, noting the cooperation between his office, law enforcement, local veterinarians, and animal advocacy groups across the county.
Oakes added, “Over the past two years, we have developed a collaborative approach so that all we’re all working together to get the best possible outcome.”
In May of 2014, the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office hosted a specialized training at SUNY Oswego on the best practices for investigating animal abuse cases.
The training was attended by more than 40 members of local law enforcement, animal / dog control officers, and animal advocacy groups.
Dr. Arianne Hamblin-Smith, a local veterinarian and owner of the Black Creek Animal Clinic in Fulton, was a featured presenter.
District Attorney Oakes noted that Apollo’s case was prosecuted by ADA Courtney Haviland, who is designated to handle all animal abuse cases on behalf of his office.
“Animal abuse is a specialized area of the law that requires specific knowledge,” Oakes said, adding, “We’ve worked hard to develop the expertise to protect and fight for abused animals. They deserve no less.”