NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — A Queens groomer was arraigned on animal cruelty charges in the death of a 4-year-old Maltese dog, the district attorney's office announced Thursday.
Lee Yat Sing, 31, is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals following the death of Kele during a grooming session in March, District Attorney Melinda Katz said.
"When we entrust our beloved pets to caretakers, they should be returned to us in the same healthy condition," Katz said in a statement. "Instead, this pet owner learned his dog had cruelly died during a routine grooming service."
According to the charges, Kele's owner dropped her off at Furry Babies Pet Grooming in Flushing on March 2 between 4:50 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Video surveillance footage from the grooming session shows Sing aggressively and inappropriately manipulating Kele, prosecutors allege.
Sing allegedly hit the 7-pound dog with a pair of scissors twice while restraining her head and neck. He also lifted her off the grooming table by holding her head and neck and pulling on her beard, according to prosecutors, who said the dog struggled and resisted throughout and exhibited irregular and strained breathing.
When Kele went limp, Sing did not seek help or offer care, instead roughhousing the unconscious dog for another six minutes, according to the D.A.
A necropsy done by a forensic veterinarian found that the otherwise healthy Kele died from respiratory failure as a result of being forcefully manipulated and restrained during the grooming session, which caused bruising, pain and distress, prosecutors said.
Sing must return to court on July 26. If convicted, he faces up to 2 years in prison.