Schenectady woman jailed after animal abuse conviction
SCHENECTADY A city woman was taken to jail Thursday after being convicted of hitting and kicking a dog near an event where more than 1,000 animal lovers gathered in September.
Dana L. Jarvis, 40, was convicted Thursday of torturing and injuring an animal, a misdemeanor, after a two-day trial in City Court.
The six-person jury took about two hours to find her guilty of punching a German shepherd in the head twice and kicking the downed dog in the shoulder near the tennis courts at Central Park on Sept. 7.
The incident was witnessed by a woman returning to her car after attending the Fireplug 500, a fundraiser for the Animal Protective Foundation held in the park.
Police caught up with Jarvis near the park later that day, prosecutor Kevin Cheung said, and examined the dog, which showed no signs of injury.
The charge was filed the next month, after a formal statement was taken from the witness and after further investigation, he said.
Jarvis had been free pending trial and during trial. After the verdict, defense attorney Brendan Keller argued Jarvis should be able to remain free until sentencing, scheduled for July 3, attorneys said. Judge Matthew Sypniewski, however, ordered her taken into custody. That means that Jarvis will spend at least two weeks in jail.
She faces up to one year in jail and as much as three years of probation, as well as possibly a court order that she not possess an animal or stay anywhere with an animal for up to the maximum term of her probation, Cheung said. If she violated such an order, she could face further jail time, he said.
Keller declined comment.
The dog Jarvis was convicted of attacking, named Max, was owned by her boyfriend, who was present at the time of the attack, Cheung said. Only Jarvis was seen hitting and kicking the dog.
The dog remains with the boyfriend, Cheung said. There was no basis to confiscate the dog because it did not belong to Jarvis, he said.
More than 1,000 people attended the fundraiser, many bringing their dogs. The event raised $40,000 for the Glenville shelter’s animal care, spay and neuter and adoption programs. The event includes a walk around the Central Park pond.
Word of the incident soon spread on social media after the event, including the APF’s Facebook page and the Facebook page of WTEN’s chief meteorologist, Steve Caporizzo, who hosts the popular Pet Connection pet adoption segment. Caporizzo’s page included a letter from the woman who witnessed the incident.
The witness spotted Jarvis and the dog around noon, after the event had concluded. A man and a child were there, as well.
The witness’ attention was drawn by screaming and yelling, Cheung said. Jarvis was yelling and circling the dog. The witness’ car was in the same area. As she approached, she could make out Jarvis swearing at the dog.
The witness then saw Jarvis ball up her fist and strike the dog in the face once, Cheung said. The witness yelled for Jarvis to stop. Jarvis apparently didn’t hear, striking the dog in the face again.
The dog then went to the ground, Cheung said — the witness described it as “pancaked,” its ears folded back, looking fearful. Jarvis then yelled at the dog again.
“She proceeded to deliver a full-force kick to the shoulder,” Cheung recounted of the testimony.
The witness finally got Jarvis’ attention. Both Jarvis and her boyfriend then began yelling at the witness, essentially threatening her, Cheung said. The witness then called 911, and the couple left with the child and dog.
Jarvis testified in her own defense, Cheung said. Her account was that she pulled the dog away after it spotted another dog. She then hit it with the leash and gave it a quick smack and spanked its hind legs.
Under cross-examination, though, Jarvis admitted the dog wasn’t being aggressive, baring its teeth or barking.