Animal cruelty charge dropped against man accused of strangling dog in front of owner

Toquoc Huynh spoke exclusively to News 12 to tell his side of the story after the Suffolk district attorney's office dropped the animal cruelty charge against him for killing his neighbor's pit bull, Rex.

News 12 Staff

Jun 11, 2020, 9:19 PM

Updated 1,503 days ago

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Charges have been dismissed against a Hauppauge man accused of strangling a pit bull in front of its owner.
Toquoc Huynh spoke exclusively to News 12 to tell his side of the story after the Suffolk district attorney's office dropped the animal cruelty charge against him for killing his neighbor's pit bull, Rex.
The incident unfolded last July. Huynh says Rex had attacked his Shih Tzu, and then was attacking his neighbor and his neighbor's goldendoodle.
"A neighbor was screaming for help, in addition to that, there were children all over the courtyard," says Huynh. "I had to do what I had to do to restrain and hold the dog as long as I possibly could so everyone could get home safely."
Huynh pleaded guilty to a violation for not having his dog on a leash that day.
"That's what the story is really about, it's really a benevolent act by a neighbor to help another neighbor in a time of emergency," says attorney Anthony La Pinta.
Rex's owners and their attorney see it much differently.
"So if two dogs get into a scuffle, this is the new rule? You can kill one of them?" asks attorney Nora Constance Marino. "I'm so disappointed in the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office."
There is still a civil lawsuit pending. Huynh's attorney has field a counter claim, saying his client was defamed and had death threats made against him.
"It's not an easy situation to live by, especially since you know you had the best intentions and it turned out differently," says Huynh.
"I feel bad for Rex, I think everyone does, but the way this was handled by the owners of Rex is deplorable," says La Pinta.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Suffolk DA's Office says, "A thorough investigation revealed that the evidence was insufficient to sustain that charge. This highlights the need to amend our laws relating to animal cruelty."
Currently, animal cruelty charges are under the state's agricultural and markets law, and not the criminal penal law. 


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