Case Snapshot
Case ID: 17117
Classification: Other
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Wednesday, Apr 1, 2009

County: Westchester

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Jonathan KIng

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A 21-year-old New York man has admitted in court that he killed his ex-girlfriend's dog by snapping its spine.

Westchester County district attorney Janet DiFiore says Jonathan King of Yorktown pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated animal cruelty.

She says King went to the ex-girlfriend's house in Yorktown last April 6, knowing no one would be home. The district attorney says King intentionally killed the dog, a Yorkshire terrier named Libra, by yanking its collar hard enough to dislocate its head from its spine.

The dead dog was found hidden behind a clothes dryer.

King was identified from blood found beneath the dog's claws.

He could be sent to prison for up to two years when he is sentenced May 19.

Case Updates

A Yorktown father said his daughter's ex-boyfriend was a "danger" to society after showing no remorse over snapping the neck of Libra, the family's dog, and stuffing it behind a clothes dryer last year.

"The indifference in his eyes and his vacant demeanor has not changed," Steven Levine said Tuesday about 21-year-old Jonathan King. "He should acknowledge responsibility for the pain, loss and suffering that he inflicted on our family, and for the unimaginable fear-filled suffering that comprised the last minutes of Libra's short life." Levine's statements came moments before King, also of Yorktown, was sentenced to a year in state prison after pleading guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony.

King offered no explanation and no apology in the courtroom, replying, "No thank you, Your Honor," when acting state Supreme Court Justice Albert Lorenzo asked whether he wished to make a statement in court.

According to county prosecutors, King entered his ex-girlfriend's home April 6, 2009, and killed the 13-pound Yorkshire terrier mix after he was sure no one besides the dog was home. Assistant District Attorney Mary Ann Liebowitz said the dog's slaying was a premeditated act. Authorities said the dog's head was separated from its spine. Blood found at the scene belonged to King, prosecutors said, and DNA evidence matched him to blood on the dog's claws. "He took her with a premeditated, unprovoked savage act of cruelty," Levine said. "I shudder
imagining the fear and pain she suffered at the hands of the defendant."

Levine, whose wife and daughter were in the courtroom in White Plains, broke into tears as he described the loss his family has felt and the anxiety King's actions have caused. He said the
family fell in love with Libra during the three years they had her and, each day, he said, he longs for her companionship. "The profound bond between a dog and its human family is a relationship that cannot be described or explained, but most every dog owner experiences it," he said.

King has been held without bail in the county jail in Valhalla since February, when he was returned to Westchester County after jumping bail and fleeing to Miami. As part of his sentence,
he must repay the county Department of Public Safety for extradition costs.

After the sentencing, Ken Ross, chief of the law enforcement department of the Westchester County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he hoped the sentencing would
bring closure to the Levine family and make King realize the seriousness of his actions. "Once he gets to state prison, maybe reality will hit him," he said.

King must serve a year of post-release supervision after his prison term and must have no contact with his ex- girlfriend, her family or two other men who would have
testified against him at trial.

King was prosecuted under Buster's Law, a 1999 statute that made aggravated cruelty to animals a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. It was named for a cat killed after a
Schenectady teenager doused it with gasoline and set it on fire.

The last person convicted under Buster's Law in Westchester was Ronald Hunlock, a former Sing Sing correction officer who threw five kittens into a prison compactor and crushed them. He received a one-year sentence in 2002.
Source: - May 26, 2010
Update posted on Dec 21, 2010 - 8:57PM 


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