Prosecutors: Pit bulls 'roasted to death' after abandonment; couple surrenders

Posted: Updated:
MINEOLA -

A couple accused of leaving their dogs to die in a cage outside the North Shore Animal League of America turned themselves in Thursday morning to the Nassau District Attorney's Office. 

Prosecutors say two 3-year-old pit bulls named King and Becki "roasted to death" after being abandoned and left in direct sunlight on a hot July day.

Steven Rivera, 28, and Diana Rodriguez, 33, both of Jersey City, were charged with abandonment and injuring animals. Their bail was set by the judge at $125 each. 

Jed Painter, the chief of Nassau's Animal Crimes Unit, says the couple rented a U-Haul in Jersey City and drove to Port Washington to leave their pets near the no-kill facility. While he acknowledges they may not have intended to kill the dogs, he says they are still responsible.

"While we have safe haven laws for children and babies, we don't have any for animals," says Painter. "The message is you really have to be responsible."

Silvia Ottaka, with the North Shore Animal League of America, says if a pet owner can no longer care for an animal, they should contact them. 

"Go to your local municipal shelter, they are there to help you," says Ottaka. "You never want to leave an animal abandoned somewhere…you want to bring them to safety, it's the humane thing to do."

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."