DA: Mineola man fatally beat 2 puppies, nearly killed another within weeks

Posted: Updated:
MINEOLA -

A Mineola couple is accused of animal cruelty after prosecutors say the husband fatally beat two puppies and nearly killed a third.

Prosecutors say 29-year-old Ellie Knoller hurt the three pups within a three-week period. His wife, 30-year-old Jessica Kuncman, is accused of standing by and doing nothing while the third dog, named Bella, suffered for 15 hours with her injuries.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas says Bella injuries include multiple rib fractures, lung bruise, bleeding behind the eyes and a broken leg.

On Wednesday, Singas and Nassau County SPCA detectives showed Bella's recovery progress at a news conference after the couple was arraigned on animal cruelty charges. Both were released without having to post bail.

Gary Rodgers, of the Nassau SPCA, says he's never seen a case of serial animal abuse like this.

Authorities first became aware of the alleged abuse in February, when the couple brought Bella to the Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center of Westbury. Attorneys for the couple say taking Bella to the vet shows they cared for the puppies and didn't intentionally hurt them.

The first dog that died was named Cooper and came from the North Shore Animal League. The second was Tucker, Bella's brother, who he came from a breeder in Pennsylvania.

The charges fall under New York's agricultural and market laws. If convicted, Knoller faces a maximum of two years in prison; his wife, no more than a year.

Bella is still the property of the couple, although she is being kept in a foster home until the next court date on June 3.

Anyone looking to make donations for Bella's care can do so through the Nassau SPCA website.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Police: 3 armed robberies reported at different Suffolk 7-Eleven stores

    Police: Third armed robbery reported at a Suffolk 7-Eleven

    Monday, May 20 2019 5:59 AM EDT2019-05-20 09:59:16 GMT
    Police say around 9:40 p.m. Sunday, a man displayed what appeared to be a gun and stole cash, cigarettes and lotto tickets.
    Police say around 9:40 p.m. Sunday, a man displayed what appeared to be a gun and stole cash, cigarettes and lotto tickets.
  • Police: Man struck by car, critically injured in Brentwood

    Police: Man struck by car, critically injured in Brentwood

    Monday, May 20 2019 5:51 AM EDT2019-05-20 09:51:33 GMT
    Police say the 44-year-old man was crossing Washington Avenue north of Clarke Street in Brentwood when he was hit around 9 p.m. Sunday
    Police say the 44-year-old man was crossing Washington Avenue north of Clarke Street in Brentwood when he was hit around 9 p.m. Sunday
  • And the winner of the 'Game of Thrones' is ...

    And the winner of the 'Game of Thrones' is ...

    HBO drops trailer for final 'Game of Thrones' seasonHBO drops trailer for final 'Game of Thrones' season
    HBO drops trailer for final 'Game of Thrones' seasonHBO drops trailer for final 'Game of Thrones' season
    Winter has come and winter has gone, the last of the heads have been lopped off and the last of the dragon fire has been spit as "Game of Thrones" aired its 73rd and final episode Sunday night.
    Winter has come and winter has gone, the last of the heads have been lopped off and the last of the dragon fire has been spit as "Game of Thrones" aired its 73rd and final episode Sunday night.
  • SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Dog Day Fridays for May 17

    Dog Day Fridays for May 17

    Friday, May 17 2019 11:13 AM EDT2019-05-17 15:13:26 GMT
    Scruff is a cute little girl looking for love! This shaggy dog came from Puerto Rico and is ready for a whole new life. She would do well in a home with other dogs, children of any age, and can even live amongst cats.Scruff is a cute little girl looking for love! This shaggy dog came from Puerto Rico and is ready for a whole new life. She would do well in a home with other dogs, children of any age, and can even live amongst cats.
    Scruff is a cute little girl looking for love! This shaggy dog came from Puerto Rico and is ready for a whole new life. She would do well in a home with other dogs, children of any age, and can even live amongst cats.Scruff is a cute little girl looking for love! This shaggy dog came from Puerto Rico and is ready for a whole new life. She would do well in a home with other dogs, children of any age, and can even live amongst cats.
    This week's pets are up for adoption at Southampton Animal Shelter. The shelter is located at 102 Old Riverhead Road West in Hampton Bays. Their phone number is 631-728-7387.
    This week's pets are up for adoption at Southampton Animal Shelter. The shelter is located at 102 Old Riverhead Road West in Hampton Bays. Their phone number is 631-728-7387.
  • 2019 PGA Championship Photos

    2019 PGA Championship Photos

    Are you attending the PGA Championship?  News 12 wants to see your photos!
    Are you attending the PGA Championship?  News 12 wants to see your photos!
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account 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."