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Tag: staten island

Baby Girl’s owners sue city, police officer

The grieving owner of Baby Girl, the 2-year-old pit bull killed by police on Staten Island earlier this month, is suing the city and the officer who fired the shots.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, was being filed in Brooklyn Federal Court on Monday, the New York Daily News reported.

Baby Girl’s owner, Patricia Ratz, took her and two other pit bulls for walk at Schmul Park on April 6.  When the two other dogs — Bo and Missy — began snapping at each other, Ratz intervened and was bitten.

Police say she was screaming for help when an officer arrived.

The lawsuit says more than 10 shots were fired at the dogs, one of which hit Baby Girl, who was running away from the ruckus, in the back. She died five days later. Police say the officer, who is still on active duty, fired seven times when the dog charged her.

Ronald Kuby, the attorney for Ratz and her fiancé, says he hopes the lawsuit will bring about changes in police policies.

“We are seeking to fundamentally change the way the NYPD deals with pets,” he said. “When a dog is fleeing the scene, it’s because the doggie is afraid, not because the dog is concerned about getting arrested. That’s the reason people flee, not doggies.”

(Photos: A photo of Baby Girl posted at a memorial for her at Schmul Park in Staten Island; Patricia Ratz and fiancé Pat Guglielmo, along with their dog Bo; by Mark Bonifacio / New York Daily News)

NY man charged with killing Chihuahua

chihuaA Staten Island man was arrested this week for fatally beating his girlfriend’s 5-pound Chihuahua, apparently because the dog had bitten him days earlier, police said.

Or, as the New York Post  put it, “Brute Bashed 5-Lb. Dog to Death: Cops.”

Frank Coppola, 28, allegedly beat the 3-year-old dog, named Bella, on Feb. 28 at the Staten Island apartment he shared with his girlfriend.

Police said it took six months to arrest him because his girlfriend, Melissa DePietro, was reluctant to testify against Coppola. Prosecutors convinced her to testify before a grand jury, which, along with graphic medical evidence, proved enough for an indictment.

A necropsy performed on Bella showed the dog had suffered severe trauma to its chest, internal bleeding, several broken ribs, a ruptured jugular vein and bruised lungs, investigators said. According to the Post, the dog had bitten Coppola days before the fatal beating.

When asked by a veterinarian what had happened, Coppola claimed the dog had run into a wall and collapsed.

Coppola was charged with animal cruelty, and faces up to four years in prison. He was released on $2,500 bail.

“This a very serious crime. It’s not every day that an animal-cruelty charge goes before a grand jury, but obviously we thought this case was serious enough to take that step,” said Bill Smith, a spokesman for District Attorney’s office.

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