Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18978
Classification: Beating
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Abuse was retaliation against animal's bad behavior
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Attorneys/Judges
Prosecutor(s): Edward Kavari
Defense(s): Robert Murphy
Judge(s): William Hadley


For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.



Saturday, Nov 26, 2011

County: Hampden

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Sharon M. Kozik

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

The owner of Lotte's Professional Dog Grooming at 2489 Boston Road will be arraigned Monday in Palmer District Court for animal cruelty in connection with the death of a toy poodle.

Sharon M. Kozik, 51, was charged after an investigation by Wilbraham police and Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

According to the investigation report by MSPCA Officer Christine Allenberg, the dog named "Rusty" died after Kozik allegedly struck it in the head with a pair of electric clippers. Kozik told police officers that the dog suffered a seizure, and that the staff tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

The dog had been muzzled for grooming because of his anxiety and aggressiveness, Kozik told the officers.

Allenberg wrote that the dog had no history of seizures; a veterinarian at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston took X-rays of the dog's skull and found that it had a skull fracture consistent with impact trauma.

Allenberg, who interviewed Kozik and several Lotte's employees with Wilbraham Officer Timothy J. Camerlin at the business, wrote that Kozik told them that the dog bit one of her employees, so she took over grooming, then he started having a seizure.

"When I advised her that the x-rays showed a skull fracture she became visibly upset and sank to the ground. She was crying . . . She said that she hit 'Rusty' in the head with her hand. She denied having anything in her hand. I asked her what made her hit the dog and she did not know," Allenberg wrote.

Kozik told Allenberg that she did not call a veterinarian because she knew the dog was dead.

"She also stated that during her years as a groomer she had a few other dogs die while being groomed and that it sometimes just happens," Allenberg's report read.

Allenberg said Kozik agreed to go to the Wilbraham Police Department to provide a written statement, but then called later to say she would not be providing a statement, and would be hiring an attorney instead.

Camerlin's narrative stated that Kozik told him that no other groomer would take the dog because of its aggressiveness. Allenberg wrote that she spoke with the dog's owner, who said that she gave it a tranquilizer before grooming because he would get nervous.

Kozik could not be reached for comment.

The maximum penalty for an animal cruelty conviction is five years in state prison, or 2 ½ years to the House of Correction.


Case Updates

Sharon Kozik, the Wilbraham dog groomer charged with animal cruelty after the death of a toy poodle in her care, had her case continued without a finding for two years after admitting to sufficient facts in Palmer District Court on Friday morning.

Kozik, 51, of 2489 Boston Road, has to pay $700 in restitution, and nearly $600 in additional costs, including a monthly $65 fee to probation. She also must attend anger management classes and further counseling as directed by probation.

Kozik, who owns Lotte's Professional Dog Grooming on Boston Road, appeared in court alongside her lawyer, Robert Murphy, before Judge William Hadley.

Murphy, who told the court his client is remorseful, declined comment after the proceeding.

The toy poodle's owner, Ruz Martir-Lopez, of Springfield, said she wanted Kozik to get jail time.

"I just hope this doesn't happen to any other pet," Martirt-Lopez said. "If we have an animal cruelty law we should enforce it."

"I just want justice for Rusty," she said. "He will always be in our hearts."

Martir-Lopez broke down outside the courtroom as she recalled how the 4-year-old dog would sleep between her and her husband. She was surrounded by her family -- her husband and three children -- as she talked about Rusty.

"It's very difficult. It's hard. I can have a million pets but it would never replace Rusty," Martir-Lopez said.

"He was definitely a part of our lives every day," said her daughter, Suleika Ferrer, 27.

Christine Allenberg, an officer with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, brought the charge forward against Kozik.

"There was no good outcome. No matter what was done it can't bring Rusty back," Allenberg said after this morning's proceedings.

Regarding Martir-Lopez's complaint that the law wasn't enforced, Allenberg said, "It's a common complaint about the criminal justice system . . . No matter what the case, when the victim hears the verdict, it's never enough."

She said the case affected two families, as Kozik is the sole breadwinner for her family and has two children. She said Kozik had no prior record. Allenberg said she never received any complaints about Lotte's prior to the incident with Rusty. Allenberg praised the court for treating Martir-Lopez and her family with compassion.

"They were one of the best families that I've dealt with in a long time," Allenberg said.

According to the investigation report by Allenberg, the dog died after Kozik allegedly struck it in the head with a pair of electric clippers. Kozik told police officers that the dog suffered a seizure, and that the staff tried unsuccessfully to revive him. She later admitted to Allenberg that she hit the dog, but just with her hand.

The dog had been muzzled for grooming. An x-ray showed that the dog had a skull fracture consistent with impact trauma. Authorities were notified of the incident by one of Kozik's employees.

"When I advised her that the x-rays showed a skull fracture she became visibly upset and sank to the ground. She was crying . . . She said that she hit 'Rusty' in the head with her hand. She denied having anything in her hand. I asked her what made her hit the dog and she did not know," Allenberg wrote.

Martir-Lopez declined comment when asked about a possible civil suit against Kozik.

Lotte's is still operating; Allenberg said a license is not required to open a dog grooming business in Massachusetts.

Because the case was continued without a finding, the charge will be dismissed after Jan. 17, 2014 if Kozik has no further problems that will land her in court.

The prosecution had asked for Kozik to serve a year in jail, with 90 days direct and the balance suspended, as well as one year of probation; during the probation period, prosecutor Edward Kavari, asked that she be prevented from working with animals during that time period. Murphy had asked for the case to be continued without a finding for a year.

Hadley also ordered that Kozik perform 50 hours of community service.

A petition was presented on Kozik's behalf containing approximately 200 signatures in her support. The petition stated that those who signed trust her with their dog.
Source: masslive.com - Jan 20, 2012
Update posted on Jan 20, 2012 - 2:15PM 
A Wilbraham dog groomer has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Sharon Kozik, who works at Lotte's Professional Dog Grooming, has been sentenced to two years of probation, mandatory anger management courses, and community service for the death of a 7-pound miniature poodle that was in her care. Kozik must also pay a fee to the dog's owner, Ruz Martir-Lopez.

Lopez's dog, Rusty, died during an appointment at Lotte's Professional Dog Grooming in November. An autopsy revealed the toy poodle died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Kozik denies hitting the animal with clippers, but admitted to hitting the dog.
Source: cbs3springfield.com - Jan 20, 2012
Update posted on Jan 20, 2012 - 10:33AM 

References

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