BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A 22-year-old Buffalo man has been indicted on a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals.

According to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, Navier Rodriguez, 22, hit his five-month-old puppy and threw it to the ground multiple times. The dog suffered extensive injuries to its mouth, including cuts and broken teeth.

Prosecutors say this incident, which they say occurred on Porter Avenue near Front Park this past April, was seen by multiple people.

“This defendant was indicted on the highest possible charge for savagely beating a defenseless puppy. Animal cruelty of any kind will not be tolerated in Erie County,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said. “I created an Animal Cruelty Unit in my office to ensure that these offenders are held accountable for their actions. I want to thank the SPCA Serving Erie County for their assistance in these criminal investigations and for the many services they provide to help these animals.”

The puppy, which has since been named “Petey,” is now in the care of a foster family.

“Animal abuse cases are always heartbreaking and the SPCA is grateful to know that members of the grand jury felt that this case warranted aggravated animal cruelty charges. No animal deserves to suffer needlessly, much less a 8-week-old puppy. We are happy to help him on his road to recovery,” Officer Lindsey Wood, of the SPCA Serving Erie County, says.

Rodriguez, who has been prohibited from owning any animals, will be back in court next month. He’s not in custody, since the charge against him is non-qualifying for bail.

If Rodriguez is convicted, he could spend up to four years in prison.

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