Bonanno starved dogIt’s bad enough when anyone abuses dogs or animals but it’s even worse when it’s someone who is in someway a professional caretaker. This is the case with a Copiague woman, 38 yr old Antonia Bonanno. Bonanno is the owner of pet-sitting business, Apaws Pet Sitting/Apaws Bed & Bisquit Inc.

A Copiague woman who owns a pet-sitting business was arrested by humane society officers and charged with animal cruelty after she left her two dogs to die of hunger and thirst, locked in small wire cages in an abandoned house, Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross said Monday in a news release.

The owner of the two female pit bulls, Antonia Bonanno, 38, was arrested Saturday by SPCA officers based on evidence from a search warrant executed at 24 Lake Grove Blvd. in Centereach where the officers found the two thirsty, emaciated dogs, Gross said.

Bonanno refused numerous requests for more than three days by the SPCA toBobanna starved dog allow them into the abandoned building to see the dogs, Gross said. The SPCA even offered to go pick her up from Copiague and bring her to Centereach, but she declined, he said.

When SPCA officers obtained a warrant and entered the house on Sept. 23 they found the two dogs, named Amber and Jamaica, in small wire cages soiled with feces and urine.

Unopened cans of dog food sat atop the cages, the SPCA chief said.

SPCA photos of the two dogs show their skin tight against their ribs.

Gross said the two dogs were both 1-2 years old; one weighed 35 pounds and the other 38. He said a veterinarian who examined them later said the animals were near death, because their kidneys had begun to shut down from lack of water.

Both were infested with hookwork and whipworm, and one of the dogs’ paws was bleeding at the nail bases, Gross said.

The dogs were fed at the veterinarian’s office, he said.

“You’ve never seen animals eat like that,” Gross said. “They were a little aggressive at first, because they were scared. But once they were brought to the vet for him to examine, they were fine.

“They were so famished. One of them was eating, then she looked up at me for a split second, almost to say ‘Thank you,’ then she went back to eating. When she was done there wasn’t a drop left.” (Newsday)

Bonanno now faces two counts of animal cruelty and if found guilty could face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine on each count.  She is scheduled to appear in Suffolk County First District Court on Jan. 25.

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