A hard-partying New York socialite and hotel owner was charged with animal torture this week, but offered no explanation in court for why he attempted to torch two small dogs.
His attorney blamed it on his client’s bipolar disorder.
Vikram Chatwal, 44, founder of the Dream Hotel Group, turned himself into police Tuesday — more than a week after a dog walker reported he had used a lighter and an aerosol can to set fire to the dogs she was walking.
The incident took place outside Chatwal’s SoHo condo.
The video above, obtained by TMZ, shows the aftermath. Chatwal can be seen apologizing to a group of people, and going so far as to invite him up to his apartment to see his art and his “water collection.”
Police had been called by that point, but they didn’t arrive until after Chatwal disappeared.
The dogs had their fur singed, but weren’t seriously injured.
Chatwal is founder of The Dream Hotel Group, which includes the Dream, Time and Unscripted hotels. He has been in and out of rehab and is known for partying with the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen.
His bio says he is also a model, movie producer and actor and roles in the movies “Zoolander” and “Spring Breakers.”
Chatwal’s lawyer told CBS that Chatwal is a dog owner, and owns six himself.
“The allegations today and the picture the prosecutor has tried to paint fly in the face of the reality of who Vikram Chatwal is,” said the lawyer, Arthur Aidala. “By all accounts, he is a peaceful, law-abiding, soft-spoken, animal-loving, dog-owning individual who is not some guy running around the street trying to injure little animals.”
Chatwal posted $50,000 bail Tuesday on charges of animal torture, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment. He is due back in court Dec. 8.
The judge also issued an order of protection for the two dogs — Molly and Finnegan — their owner and their dog walker, the New York Daily News reported.
Assistant District Attorney Erin Satterthwaite said Chatwal was screaming, “The dogs must die!”
Chatwal’s attorney said his client was a lifetime animal lover who suffers from a bipolar disorder but would never harm an animal.
Witnesses say Chatwal was arguing with the dog walker and approached the two Jack Russell Terriers with a blow torch that he put together from an aerosol can and a lighter.
(Photo: Vikram Chatwal, Facebook)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 20th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aerosol, animal cruelty, animals, argument, bipolar disorder, burned, charged, cruelty to animals, dog, dog walker, dogs, dream, dream hotel, hotel, jack russell terriers, lighter, manhattan, new york, owner, pets, Socialite, soho, time, tmz, torched, torture, unscripted, Vikram Chatwal
An off-duty police officer has been charged with punching a 71-year-old woman in the face during an argument that began when he objected to her Yorkshire terrier riding the elevator.
Officer Vladimir Radionov, 46, is accused of striking the woman Sunday morning after she tried to bring her 9-pound Yorkshire terrier onto the elevator of their building in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach.
“I think if I didn’t run away, he would kill me,” Janet Goldschmidt told The New York Post. “He was so angry.”
Radionov, a New York City police officer, was charged with second degree assault.
Pets are only allowed in the building’s service elevator, but Goldschmidt says she asked him if he’d be willing to let them ride in the passenger elevator with him.
“He says, ‘Take your motherf–king dog out of the elevator. I don’t want to go up with your f–king dirty dog,'” she said.
“He came at me like a bull. He just attacked me … He said ‘No’ and started punching me … I throw a cup of coffee, thinking this is going to stop him but it doesn’t. He punches me in the back. He grabs me and pulls me out like I am a child.”
The Post reported that sources who had seen the elevator surveillance video said it shows Radionov dragging her out of the elevator, then pushing her when she tries to get back in.
At one point, Goldschmidt fell, injuring her tailbone and hitting the back of her head. She also scraped her arm during the fall, sources told The Post. She was taken to Coney Island Hospital for treatment.
Goldschmidt reported the incident to the building superintendent and police.
After his arrest, Radionov was freed on $5,000 bail, but an order of protection was issued requiring him to stay away from the building in which he also resides.
“I am so surprised. He is a police officer,” Goldschmidt said. “Police officers are supposed to keep us safe. Instead, he was acting like a criminal.”
(Photos: By Gabriella Bass / New York Post)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 8th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alvick, animals, argument, assault, brighton beach, brooklyn, charged, dog, dogs, elevator, janet goldschmidt, law enforcement, new york, nypd, off duty, officer, pets, police, rules, vladimir radionov, yorkshire terrier
Police were called to the pet supply store in San Mateo Sunday evening by the dog’s owner.
The owner, a 47-year-old San Mateo man, told officers he brought his 1-year-old male dachshund, Henry, to the store to be groomed, police said.
About three minutes later, an employee came out of the grooming office holding the dog, who was bleeding from the mouth and having trouble breathing, police said.
The employee, Juan Gustavo Zarate, 38, of San Francisco, then took the dog to an on-site veterinarian. Despite the vet’s attempts to treat the animal, the dog died within minutes.
A post mortem X-ray of the dog concluded Henry suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported.
Officers determined that Zarate likely contributed to the dog’s death and arrested him on suspicion of felony animal cruelty. He was booked into the county jail and released later Sunday evening, according to the District Attorney’s office.
“It’s definitely a sad and sensitive case for everyone involved and we take any animal neglect case seriously,” said San Mateo police Sgt. Rick Decker.
The Peninsula Humane Society will conduct a necropsy to confirm the nature of the injuries and the specific cause of death, police said.
In an email to ABC7 News, PetSmart wrote:
“We are heartbroken by the loss of Henry. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of pets, and we take full responsibility for the pets in our care.
“We are conducting an internal investigation and will take immediate action based on our findings. Additionally, we are working with the local authorities. The individual involved has been placed on suspension pending the outcome of this investigation.
“Any incident of animal cruelty goes against everything we believe as a company and as individual pet parents. No words can express our deep sorrow for the family, and we will continue to work with the pet parent during this difficult time.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 18th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, broken, california, care, charged, dachshund, dead, died, dog, dogs, grooming, henry, lung, necropsy, pet, pets, petsmart, police, punctured, ribs, san mateo
A Salisbury, N.C., woman insists it was just a joke when she posted a photo of her dog with her snout taped shut, but she has been charged with animal cruelty all the same.
Kimberly Ann Howell, 25, posted the photo above on Facebook, along with these words:
“I warned her. I told her I was going to teach her not to bite the baby again, even play biting. LOL. She so pidiful (sic). I can’t even make her keep it on for five minutes. LOL. She jumped up on me and was like but please mamma.”
Amid some critical comments, Howell took the post down, but not before someone — concerned either about the dog or the infant — tipped off county officials, who referred the matter to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, the Salisbury Post reported.
A detective questioned Howell, who insisted the dog, a young mixed breed named Leah, managed to quickly get the duct tape off her face. She also insisted the dog was not harmed.
The detective examined the dog and found her to be in good health with no other signs of abuse or neglect.
Howell, however, was charged with animal cruelty, jailed, and later released on $3,000 bond on the cruelty charge and failure to appear for outstanding traffic charges.
Leah was left in the custody of the family after the detective consulted with animal control officials about the case. Howell was told that a follow-up visit might take place to ensure the dog was being treated properly,
Since her initial post, Howell has responded repeatedly to the barrage of criticism she has been receiving online.
“Wow ok maybe I should of said I was joking when posting that,” she wrote on Facebook. “But honestly though people would know better anyone who spend (sic) a week at my house would see how spoiled and loved my dog is. Anyways guess I really didn’t think through but anyone who knows me knows when I got Leah she [was] skin and bones how (sic) that animal abusee (sic).”
(Photo of Leah from Facebook, photo of Howell from Rowan County Sheriff’s Office)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 2nd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, baby, biting, charged, charges, dog, dogs, duct tape, facebook, infant, joke, leah, mixed breed, mouth, north carolina, pets, photos, rowan county, salisbury, sheriff, snout, tape, taped
Authorities have dropped the charges filed against a veteran who was arrested after breaking a window to save a dog left inside a hot car in a shopping center parking lot.
Michael Hammons, 46, an Iraq War veteran who lives in Athens, Ga., used a leg support from his wife’s wheelchair to smash out the window of a Mustang.
At the insistence of the angry dog’s owner, who said she’d only let the dog alone for five minutes, Hammons was arrested and charged with criminal trespass.
Thousands subsequently came to his defense online and called Hammons a hero, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which announced last week it will be awarding Hammons its Compassionate Action Award.
PETA officials noted that temperatures inside a parked car can jump quickly to 100 to 120 degrees — even on a mild, 78-degree day like Saturday, May 9, when the incident took place.
A local Ford dealer in Athens offered to replace the broken window for free, WXIA in Atlanta reported.
Current Georgia law allows someone to break a window to save a person, but not an animal. Hammons arrest led to a call to change that law, as a handful of other states have.
“The laws need to be changed to protect the animals, not necessarily the people,” said Mark Martin, a pet store owner who rallied around Hammons’ cause. “We are the voices for the animals; they can’t speak for themselves.”
Ken Mauldin, district attorney for the Superior Court of Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties, said the car’s owner agreed with his decision to drop the charges.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrested, Athens, broke, car, charged, charges dropped, criminal trespass, district attorney, dog, dogs, dropped, georgia, hot, inside, leg support, michael hammons, parked, parking lot, pets, rescue, safety, wheelchair, window
Once there was a Raven, an alligator and a dog, and the latter two were allegedly abused and neglected by the former.
Apparently that’s all the information officials think we’re entitled to as the curious case of Terrence Cody continues not to unfold.
Even with news of his indictment — the former Baltimore Raven faces 15 charges — what is alleged to have transpired in the Baltimore County home of Cody isn’t being shared with the public.
The charges include two counts of aggravated animal cruelty with a dog, five counts of animal abuse or neglect with the same dog, five counts of abuse or neglect in connection with alligator, and one count of illegal possession of an alligator, according to Deputy State’s Attorney John Cox.
But what exactly Cody is accused of doing, or neglecting to do, in connection with both animals is being left to our imaginations.
That, especially given he was in the NFL, leaves us free to picture the worst — as in staging fights between the two species, as in maybe the alligator went unfed until it tried to eat the dog, as in maybe Cody used them both to attack a girlfriend on an elevator, as in who knows what.
That’s a disservice, to the public and to Cody.
“Ban Terrence Cody From the NFL for Allegedly Feeding His Dog to His Pet Alligator!” says a headline on the website Care2. Clicking on a link to a petition, though, readers are informed “Terrence Cody did not feed his dog to his alligator as the author of the petition has falsely indicated. New info reveals that his dog passed away as a result of worms, after being severely neglected by the ex-Ravens player.”
When there is an information void, our imaginations, and sometimes our websites, are only to happy to fill it.
Once an indictment is revealed, some details should be released by authorities that go beyond “he did something illegal to this animal and to that animal.”
Imagine if law enforcement and prosecutors had taken that no-details approach in the Michael Vick case. Imagine if they had said, “We seized all these dogs because something bad was going on, but we’re not going to say what until the story unravels in court — if it even goes to court.
News that Cody, 26, was being investigated for animal cruelty came out the same day the Ravens announced he was being released from the team.
The Ravens didn’t go into the allegations, and coach John Harbaugh, in announcing Cody’s termination, said only that the “threshold of tolerance” had changed in the NFL. “It’s a privilege to play in the National Football League. It’s a privilege to be a part of the Ravens. There’s a standard to uphold there, and we expect them to.”
Cody was officially released from the team Monday — the same day the indictment came out.
The indictment says the felony aggravated animal cruelty charges (they carry a maximum three-year sentence) stem from the death of his Presa Canario.
Through the indictment, the public learned there was an alligator involved as well — though not necessarily in connection with the dog’s death. In addition to five counts of abuse or neglect of the alligator, Cody was also charged with one count of possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of marijuana.
The investigation was started after Cody took his dog to a veterinarian.
Peter Schaffer, Cody’s agent, told the Baltimore Sun that Cody took the dog to a vet for treatment of worms, and that the dog died there. He didn’t share any additional details, either.
“This is all a result of the NFL allowing players to be convicted before they’re tried,” Schaffer said. “If Terrence wasn’t a public figure, they wouldn’t have ever charged him. It’s just ridiculous.”
Cody, having played in only one game last season, wasn’t too major a public figure, and maybe that’s why law enforcement and prosecutors think they can get away with providing virtually no information about what transpired.
He was a nose tackle, not a quarterback, and possibly authorities thought the case could pass quietly under the radar.
The alligator twist probably kept that from happening.
Other than informing us that Cody turned himself in and was released on $10,000 bail, and dutifully reporting the few details officials have released, there hasn’t been much digging, it seems, by the news media.
The NFL has said it would look into the case only if Cody signs with another team, according to a Baltimore Sun report.
Manwhile, the news media, and the animal welfare community, should be demanding some details.
One, because we have a right to know. Two, because animal cruelty cases shouldn’t be swept under rugs. It is through exposure that problems can be addressed and changes can occur.
What, exactly, is Terrence Cody alleged to have done? Why, exactly, aren’t law and order types letting us know? And, while the dog died, and while Cody will be a Raven nevermore, what has become of the alligator?
Posted by John Woestendiek February 4th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alligator, animal cruelty, animal welfare, baltimore, baltimore county, baltimore ravens, charged, details, dog, indicted, indictment, investigatio, law enforcement, presa canario, prosecution, public, ravens, released, right to know, team, terrence cody
The CEO who was drummed out of his job after video surfaced of him mistreating a dog on an elevator has been charged with causing an animal distress.
Desmond Hague, who lost his job last year after the video went public, was head of Centerplate, the food service giant that contracts with stadiums across the country.
He was charged Friday with two civil violations of causing an animal distress. The charges were filed in Provincial Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, where the incident took place — inside a luxury downtown high rise on July 27, 2014.
He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 24, according to U-T San Diego.
Conviction of the charges can carry fines up to $75,000 and two years imprisonment, but it’s considered unlikely that Hague will see any jail time.
The video showed Hague kicking the dog — a one-year-old Doberman pinscher — and jerking her off the ground by her leash.
Around the world, the widely shared video sparked anger among dog lovers and calls for the CEO to be immediately fired.
Hague, who had been walking the dog, named Sade, for a friend, issued a public apology. Centerplate, after its board initially stood behind Hague, placed him on probation and ordered him to take anger management classes, donate $100,000 to a nonprofit to assist abused animals and perform 1,000 hours of community service.
When all of that did little to quell the continuing public outrage, the company forced Hague to resign.
Sade was taken into protective custody, and has since been returned to her owner, said Lorie Chortyk of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Canada.
Hague is not permitted to see Sade under terms of the dog’s release back to her owner, Chortyk said.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animals, arenas, british columbia, canada, centerplate, ceo, charged, cruelty, desmond hague, distress, dog, dogs, elevator, fired, food, pets, sade, service, sports, stadiums, surveillance, vancouver, video