May. 15, 2023 By Bill Parry
A Forest Hills man was indicted on animal cruelty charges and other crimes for allegedly repeatedly injuring his female Boston Terrier to the point where the puppy could no longer walk nor even stand, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
Paul Verite, 50, of Clyde Street, was arraigned on May 15 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Toni Cimino on an indictment charging him with aggravated cruelty to animals and overdriving, torturing or injuring an animal.
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.
According to the charges, 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, according to prosecutors. 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, prosecutors said.
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, according to the autopsy. 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. Detectives from the NYPD’s Special Investigations Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad arrested Verite on Feb. 6. Verite’s attorney could not be reached for comment. The case against Verite is being prosecuted by the DA’s Animal Cruelty Prosecutions Unit.
“The brutality inflicted upon Espy is as sickening as it is heart-wrenching,” Katz said. “The defendant will be held to account for the pain and suffering he is alleged to have caused this defenseless creature over the course of her short and tortured life.”
Justice Cimino ordered Verite to return to court on June 14. If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison.