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September 23, 2013

Falls man facing animal cruelty charge

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A Niagara Falls man faces a felony charge of animal cruelty after he was seen allegedly beating a puppy Monday.

Lee Jones, 23, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty after a two Rural Metro ambulance company employees observed him holding the puppy by its scruff and striking its head repeatedly with a blunt object, according to Niagara County SPCA.

The Rural Metro employees were responding to an ambulance call on 28th Street. They left the home to investigate upon hearing the "screams" of a puppy outside, SPCA said.

The first responders said Jones claimed he was disciplining the puppy. The object with which Jones struck the puppy was a hard plastic tube wrapped in cloth, SPCA said.

Once released by Jones, the female puppy ran across the street toward the first responders, one of whom, Sarah Zimmerman, scooped the puppy up to safety and refused to return it to a demanding Jones, SPCA said.

Jones was charged at the scene by Niagara Falls police. An SPCA animal cruelty investigator turned out to the scene as well.

According to SPCA Executive Director Amy Lewis, Jones was questioned in another animal cruelty case this past spring in Niagara Falls, involving an 8-week-old puppy named Gladys that was found by two Modern Disposal employees. Gladys was suffering a broken jaw and severe facial swelling at the time she was discovered. Jones claimed he had been a a co-owner of Gladys, until he sold her, several days before she was discovered, Lewis said.

The puppy that ran from Jones on Monday was taken in by SPCA and has been named "Karma." Zimmerman, the Rural Metro employee, has offered to foster Karma and also has expressed interest in adopting her, Lewis said.

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