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West Hempstead Man Arrested in Dogfighting Case

The man allegedly had eight pit bulls caged and housed in a shed, with some found sickly, underweight and with bite marks; if convicted, suspect faces a year in prison and $15,000 per dog in fines.

Hector Hernandez, 26. Credit: Nassau County District Attorney's Office
Hector Hernandez, 26. Credit: Nassau County District Attorney's Office

A West Hempstead man was arrested Thursday on dogfighting charges involving eight pit bull dogs "housed in cages" with "bite wounds" and "scarring from previous wounds", the Nassau County District Attorney's office said. 

On Thursday, investigators arrived at Hernandez's residence on Pinebrook Avenue in West Hempstead discovered eight pit-bull dogs caged and housed in a multi-room shed on the property, along with multiple chickens and one rabbit, according to the DA's office. Investigators also said they also found dog fighting paraphernalia on the premises.

Hector Hernandez, 26, was arrested Thursday by DA Investigators and arraigned Friday on violating nine counts of Section 351 of New York’s Agriculture and Markets Law, which pertains to animal fighting, and of violating two counts of Section 353 of New York’s Agriculture and Markets Law, which pertains to failure to provide proper sustenance, the DA's office said. 

Hernandez was also found at the residence in possession of heavy restraint chains, a treadmill that had been modified with a wooden frame and dog tether, and the eight dogs, some of which had scars on their faces, necks and ears consistent with bite wounds, the DA's office said. 

Two of the dogs had fresh bite marks on their front sides and were found to be "sickly, underweight with bones visible, with overgrown nails and open wounds", the DA's office said. The other six dogs were found in "poor living conditions."

If convicted as charged, Hernandez could face up to one year in prison, plus $15,000 per dog in fines, according to the DA's office. Judge Joy Watson of Nassau District Court set bail at $2,500 and Hernandez’s next court date is Jan. 2, the DA's office said. 

Members of the public can report animal crime directly to DA Rice’s Animal Crimes Unit by walking in to the DA’s Criminal Complaint Unit at 272 Old Country Road, by calling the DA’s 24 hour Animal Crimes Tipline at (516) 571-2245, via Internet complaint form at www.nassauda.org, or via email to AnimalCrimesUnit@nassauda.org. 

VBarry Levin January 17, 2014 at 01:51 PM
He should be deported to North Korea, where he can be eaten by wolves as the uncle of there dictator recently was.
enzod123 January 17, 2014 at 03:01 PM
Why on earth would a crime like this have only a $2500 bail ?
Jack January 17, 2014 at 03:18 PM
West Hempstead should be renamed Tiajuana North. Thingsd are only getting worse in Nassau County. I give it another 10 years.
Anne January 17, 2014 at 05:05 PM
How disgusting! He should be jailed in a dog crate!!
Ivan Ivanovich January 17, 2014 at 10:02 PM
A cartel member no doubt
Pat January 18, 2014 at 01:01 PM
This has nothing to do with West Hempstead and could happen anywhere. They should lock this guy up and throw the key away. Those poor dogs. I hope people realize pit bulls are great dogs and this is what gives them a bad reputation.
suzanne January 18, 2014 at 01:16 PM
I agree that $2500 is a ridiculously low bail. What's up with that, Judge Watson?! I will definitely remember this next election.
Bob Rabey January 19, 2014 at 03:23 AM
I'm SURE there's a lot more to this story. It's the public's obligation to keep a close eye on this guy's activity. I'm sure there were warning signs of something going on that nearby neighbors observed. Suzanne: Unfortunately, this is not Judge Watson's fault. Her hands are tied by the limitations of the law. I agree, stronger laws and penalties must be introduced.
suzanne January 19, 2014 at 09:41 AM
Bob, you bring up a good point. Exactly what ARE those limitations on Judge Watson, I'd like to know? I'd love for you to post the sentencing guidelines, so we can follow up with our legislators, if need be.
suzanne January 19, 2014 at 09:51 AM
Hmmm...I just did a little research on my own. According to the NYS Humane Association...For misdemeanors... "In the case of multiple misdemeanor convictions, there is a limit on how much time can be served in jail. Though convicted of multiple misdemeanors and sentenced by the judge to numerous years, the maximum time a person can serve in county jail - is TWO years. At two years, by law, the sheriff must let the person out. Important: If a person is convicted of two misdemeanors and is sentenced to two years in jail, that person may be eligible for release sooner (at 16 months) based on good behavior. And in that case, the onus is on the sheriff´s department to demonstrate why the person should not be released. Thus, if you have numerous charges against the person, and you want him to do the maximum two years, it is best to charge the person with at least three counts Then, if convicted, the person could be sentenced to three years in prison. Because the sentence is three years, the sheriff can keep the person confined for the full two years. The good behavior aspect would not have to be a consideration." Felonies are similar but time served beyond 2 years is done in state facilities, not county jail. As far as fines..."Certain crimes carry a fine or jail time, or both. The judges can impose fines as they see fit. In the case of multiple convictions, however, they rarely double or triple the fines because from a practical standpoint, fines are difficult to collect from convicted criminals." So...I stand by my original post about Judge Watson.
Bob Rabey January 22, 2014 at 02:39 AM
Suzanne: I believe you just answered your own question. Unfortunately, these are the times in which we live. However, there still remains the pressure of "public out-cry", and the fact that now that this has been made public, with everyone knowing who he is and what he's done carries a stigma that should far exceed anything the courts could impose.
suzanne January 22, 2014 at 07:53 AM
Yes, I believe I did. Unfortunately, a person who commits such atrocities against defenseless animals isn't likely to care much about public out-cry, I'm afraid. That's why it is so important for people to insist that our elected officials impose the maximum possible fines and jail terms for crimes like these. I for one would feel much more comfortable knowing this creep is off the streets for as long as possible and unable to further endanger my community.
FedUpRealist January 22, 2014 at 05:23 PM
The dogs were emaciated and hungry, right???...So let's feed HIM to the dogs!!!!
Hamburger January 22, 2014 at 07:00 PM
It's a dog eat dog world and we're all wearing milkbone underwear
Mickey January 23, 2014 at 12:29 PM
One very important paragraph in this article is as follows: Members of the public can report animal crime directly to DA Rice’s Animal Crimes Unit by walking in to the DA’s Criminal Complaint Unit at 272 Old Country Road, by calling the DA’s 24 hour Animal Crimes Tipline at (516) 571-2245, via Internet complaint form at www.nassauda.org, or via email to AnimalCrimesUnit@nassauda.org. I ask that all Patch readers post this info on your face book or any other social media so people KNOW that all it would take is an anonymous phone call to save these animals from a life of pain and horror- and PUNISH those responsible.

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