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Forest Hills man criminally charged with animal cruelty for ‘brutalizing’ his puppy

Feb. 28, 2023 By Bill Parry

A Forest Hills man was charged with animal cruelty and other crimes for allegedly repeatedly injuring his 10-week-old female Boston Terrier to the point where the puppy could neither walk nor stand, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Feb. 28.

Paul Verite, 49, of Clyde Street, was arraigned Feb. 27 before Queens Criminal Court Judge John Zoll on a complaint charging him with aggravated cruelty to animals and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals and failure to provide sustenance to his puppy named Espy.

According to the charges, on multiple occasions in September, October and November, Verite took Espy to Austin Veterinary Care and Blue Pearl Animal Hospital. Each time, Espy required treatment for various unexplained and suspicious injuries, including a scleral/subconjunctival hemorrhage, torn toenail, suspected traumatic brain injury, head contusion and bruising suspected to be from blunt force trauma.

During Espy’s final medical visit, a veterinarian at Austin Veterinary Care began treating the puppy for a potential seizure but observed the dog was failing to respond to treatment. Suspecting Espy was suffering from a traumatic head injury, the veterinarian referred Verite to Blue Pearl Animal Hospital for emergency care.

Espy arrived at Blue Pearl Animal Hospital in critical condition and was determined to be unable to stand or walk. Further examination revealed that Espy suffered from bilateral flail chest, swelling and bruising on her abdomen, and scleral hemorrhaging in both eyes and was in critical condition. It was further determined that there was no guarantee Espy’s neurological signs would improve if surgery were performed. Verite opted to euthanize Espy.

An autopsy was conducted by a forensic veterinarian who also reviewed prior medical records relating to the injuries Espy sustained during her life. It was determined that Espy suffered multiple injuries, including numerous blunt force traumas to her ribs. Of Espy’s 26 ribs, 21 were fractured, with over half fractured in more than one place. Espy’s broken ribs presented in different stages of healing, indicating that Espy had suffered multiple blunt-force injuries before her death. According to the charges, these injuries caused Espy to experience excruciating pain before her death. Investigators arrested Verite on Feb. 6.

“To see a trusting, defenseless creature brutalized the way this puppy was over the course of her short, tortured life makes you heartsick,” Katz said. “The defendant will be held to account for the violence he is alleged to have inflicted upon this poor animal.”

Judge Zoll ordered Verite to return to court on April 24. If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison.

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