NYPD officer and wife found in possession of animals despite being subject to five-year ban
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced the arrest today of a Farmingdale husband and wife for owning animals despite a five-year ban ordered by a judge after they were found guilty after trial of animal neglect for failing to provide food and medical care for Zack, their pet Great Dane that died shortly after being removed from the couple’s home.
Rose Neira, 34, and Danny Neira, 43, were arrested today by DA investigators and arraigned on charges of Criminal Contempt in the 2nd Degree (an A misdemeanor). Nassau District Court Judge James Darcy set bail for each at $500 cash or bond.
If convicted, the couple each face up to one year in jail. They are due back in court on June 4.
“One of our goals in prosecuting these cases is to ensure that people who are found guilty of animal abuse and neglect do not have the opportunity to harm another helpless and defenseless animal,” Acting DA Singas said. “Animal ownership is a privilege and not a right, and those who violate a court order will be held accountable by my office.”
Acting DA Singas said that on Feb. 26, 2015, Nassau District Court Judge Tricia Ferrell signed two court orders that prohibited both Danny and Rose Neira from owning, harboring, or having custody or control of any animals for a period of five years.
On May 21, a probation officer visited the Neira’s residence and observed through a window a large dog running around the house and barking. The next day, at approximately 9:58 a.m., a DA investigator knocked on the front door of the Neira house. At that time, no one answered the door. However, the investigator heard a dog barking and clawing at the front door from the inside.
On May 28, DA investigators executed a search warrant at the Neira home. Once in the home they found a dog, a cockatoo, and a tarantula on the main floor of the home. Additionally, a tenant who occupies the basement unit of the home had two dogs living with her in the unit.
The court order prohibiting the Neiras from owning animals was executed as the result of the DA office’s successful prosecution of the couple for animal neglect that led to the death of their two-year-old Great Dane in 2010.
Acting DA Singas said that on Nov. 22, 2010, DA Investigators and members of the DA’s Animal Crimes Unit went to the Neiras’ home after receiving multiple tips stating that an animal was being neglected at the defendants’ address. At the home, investigators found Zack, a two-year-old Great Dane, grossly emaciated with protruding ribs and its backbone visible through its skin.
When questioned by investigators, Rose Neira initially claimed that the dog’s condition was due to parasites, but she could not provide the name of a veterinarian for the animal, nor could she produce any medication that was being administered to the animal. She stated that she kept the Great Dane in the kitchen, taking it out only once a night, and that she hadn’t sought veterinary treatment for more than a year. Danny Neira is an officer with the New York Police Department.
Prosecutors obtained a warrant to seize the dog the following day and the Town of Oyster Bay’s Animal Control transported the dog to Oyster Bay Animal Hospital, where it was treated by a veterinarian for 10 days. In addition to the dog’s emaciated appearance, its nails were damaged and overgrown and its ear cavities were caked with dirt and grease. Zack’s multiple health issues forced veterinarians to feed him intravenously.
Zack weighed just 87 pounds when it was removed from the Neiras’ home. A normal, healthy Great Dane should weigh between 120 and 150 pounds. Zack succumbed to multiple health problems on Dec. 1, 2010 while still receiving around-the-clock veterinary care.
A Nassau jury deliberated three hours before finding the Neiras guilty of animal neglect in October 2012.
Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hernan of Acting DA Singas’ Animal Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case. The Neiras are represented by Robert DelGrosso, Esq.