Lee Hughes, Shawanna Hughes, Reginald Smith face animal cruelty charges in connection to pit bull mutilation

Three people have been arrested in connection to the mutilation of a puppy's ears and one of its legs.

Lee Hughes, Shawanna Hughes, and Reginald Smith have been charged with various counts of animal cruelty and other charges.

The three gave multiple and conflicting accounts of what happened to the 8-month-old pit bull named Ms. Harper. One statement says the incident occurred in July after the couple went away on a trip.

"When she got back, the ears were chewed off, perhaps by one of the bigger dogs," the complaint says.

According to the document, Shawanna Hughes said the puppy's leg was also taped up but didn't explain why.

Investigators interviewed a witness who says Lee and Shawanna Hughes, who are married, wanted to get rid of the puppy because they had an animal abuse case pending.

The complaint says that Hughes then called Reginald Smith, who was working as a veterinary technician at the Animal Hospital at Elmont. The complaint says Smith brought the wounded puppy to the animal hospital after it had closed for the evening and performed unauthorized surgery. It also says Hughes told officials that "Reggie called the next day and explained that he had to cut the puppy's leg off and that he was going to charge $300 for the work."

According to the complaint, Smith denies performing surgery and says he only bathed the dog. The Hughes' attorney has not returned calls from News 12.

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