2016-05-11 / Front Page

Queens Man Indicted In Pup’s Death

By Liz Goff
A Queens grand jury last week indicted a 33-year-old Jackson Heights man for allegedly killing his girlfriend’s dog during an argument at the woman’s Forest Hills apartment.

Carlos Hernandez is the first person to be indicted on charges stemming from an investigation by the Queens District Attorney’s new Animal Cruelty Prosecutions Unit, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Prosecutors said Hernandez was inside the Forest Hills apartment he shared with his girlfriend, Karen Belalcazar, and her 11-year-old daughter, on January 10, when the couple got into a verbal dispute.

During the dispute, Hernandez forcibly grabbed the woman’s 3-year-old Chihuahua, Honey, from her arms and slammed the pup to the floor, prosecutors said. The dog collapsed and died moments later.

Hernandez was arraigned on May 4 on an eight-count indictment charging him with one count of aggravated cruelty to animals, one count of third-degree robbery, two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and single counts of criminal mischief, endangering the welfare of a child, harassment and disorderly conduct.

“The defendant is accused of aggravated cruelty to animals for pulling his girlfriend’s small dog out of her arms during an argument and killing the helpless animal by violently throwing the dog to the floor,” Brown said. “Such acts of aggression toward animals cannot – and will not be tolerated.”

Hernandez originally faced charges that could have put him behind bars for four years. The addition of two felony counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals contained in the indictment could send him to prison for seven years, if convicted.

Hernandez was released on his prior bail of $7,500 and is due back in court on July 6.

The Animal Cruelty Prosecutions Unit was established in January to investigate and prosecute crimes against animals in Queens. Members of the unit also educate the public on ways to prevent and detect the abuse of animals.

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