Complaint: Carle Place man let turtles freeze to death

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HEMPSTEAD -

A Carle Place man appeared in court Thursday to face his second animal cruelty charge in less than a year.

According to a criminal complaint, SPCA officers conducted an inspection at Christopher Koenig's house on Jan. 31 and found three Chinese softshell turtles left in a container outside in below-freezing temperatures.

The complaint says two of the turtles froze to death, and the third one had an open wound on its head that went down to the bone.

The SPCA says the discovery led to Koenig's arrest Wednesday on a charge of aggravated animal cruelty, which is a felony.

News 12 reported in June 2017 that Koenig was arrested for allegedly keeping dozens of animals – including snakes, turtles, cats, dogs and even a baby alligator – inside his house. The Nassau SPCA says some of those animals were illegal, some were dead, and all were kept in deplorable conditions.

Koenig's attorney says his client's second arrest is nothing more than a misunderstanding.

“These animals were outside the house sitting on his porch. People do leave animals for him because he's been taking care of them his whole life. He didn't know about these animals. He wasn't even home,” says Harry Thomasson.

Officials say Koenig is on the Nassau County Animal Crimes Registry. He faces up to a year in prison, if convicted.

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