Man accused of beating dog pleads not guilty

Local News
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TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A man accused of beating his dog with a PVC pipe earlier this month was arraigned in Tonawanda City Court Tuesday morning. Dimitriy Blyashuk pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of intentionally injuring an animal.

Police say they were called to Blyashuk’s home on the evening of September 6, 2015, after his neighbors called to report that they saw him beating his 2-year-old Husky, named Zeus, with a plastic PVC pipe outside his home on Fuller Avenue. Police say they found the dog with blood coming from its nose, face, and spine. They say Blyashuk had blood on his clothes, and when asked about it, he said the blood was the dog’s.

On Tuesday morning, Judge Joseph Cassata signed an order prohibiting Blyashuk from having any animals, including Zeus, during the court process. The judge also granted a full order of protection for Blyashuk’s neighbors, who could be witnesses in the court case.

Blyashuk’s lawyer, Sean Schoenborn, began laying seeds for his client’s defense on Tuesday, pointing out that disturbing photos of a bloody husky that had surfaced online after Blyashuk’s arrest aren’t actually photos of Zeus. A different dog is pictured. “That’s my understanding,” Schoenborn said, “and I think that eventually when we further investigate this case, we’ll understand that for sure.”

“This is just about the dog. It’s not about what the picture of the dog is,” said Clarence Sechler, founder of WNY Huskies and Friends. Sechler says he posted a photo of a different dog on an online petition related to Blyashuk’s case. “Who cares what the picture of the dog is. It doesn’t matter what dog we use. This dog was abused,” he explained.

In light of this case, WNY Huskies and Friends is planning a walk to raise awareness about all animal abuse. That ‘Walk to Remember’ is set for Sunday, September 27.

Blyashuk is due back in Tonawanda City Court for his next appearance on October 13 at 1:30 p.m. He remains free on $250 bail, which he posted shortly after his arrest.

Blyashuk could face one year in jail, a thousand dollar fine, three years probation, or any combination of those consequences if he is convicted on the animal abuse charge.

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