Son of Schenectady murder suspect accused of beating dog
Updated 1:33 p.m.
SCHENECTADY DC Dunkel, the 20-year-old man whose mother was charged with beating her grandson to death, is now facing an animal cruelty charge.
Investigators with the Schenectady County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty accused him of beating his mixed-breed pit bull on two occasions, both of which were caught on video. One of the beatings involved Dunkel hitting the animal with a shovel, said David Dean, the SPCA’s chief.
“Depraved and sadistic is how I’d describe anyone who beats a dog with a shovel, and such conduct fits the definition of aggravated animal cruelty,” he said. “I’m just glad we’re not using a shovel to bury this poor dog.”
Dunkel was charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty last week. He is scheduled to appear in City Court on May 28.
SPCA investigators began looking into reports of a 2-year-old male pit bull being beaten by a man with a shovel in late April. Officers were investigating the incident when they received another tip from a witnesses who claimed to have another recording of the dog being beaten May 6.
Dean said the beatings were serious enough that they couldn’t be mistaken for simple discipline. He said the dog has broken teeth, which appear to be consistent with abuse he witnessed in the video.
“If you saw the video, this is not a rolled-up newspaper on the nose,” he said. “This is a vicious beating.”
Steve Signore, an attorney representing Dunkel in a separate matter, said he hasn’t had time to review the charge with his client. He said he intends to investigate the allegations in short order.
Dunkel’s mother, Gloria Nelligan, was accused in February of beating her 8-year-old grandson — Dunkel’s nephew — to death. Nelligan, 43, was later indicted on one count each of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the death of Sha’hiim Nelligan.
Nelligan is accused of using items including a wooden back scratcher and hair brush to assault the child. The beatings, prosecutors have said, took place over a 24-hour period and were so severe that much of the child’s blood went to bruising. That meant there was little blood left to circulate in his body, causing his death.
Dunkel has since taken over the care of the other three children who lived with his mother, who remains held without bail in Schenectady County Jail.
Dunkel, who also cares for his own child, is also facing a felony third-degree criminal mischief charge stemming from a dispute with his neighbor. He is accused of using a pipe to smash out the rear window of the neighbor’s van, causing more than the $250 in damage.
Dean said Dunkel’s dog will remain in foster care pending the outcome of his first court appearance. He said the dog seems in good health and has responded well to the care it’s been given since being seized last week.
“It’s amazing that this dog is so sweet despite what it was subjected to,” he said.