<![CDATA[NBC New York - Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:18:19 -0400 Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:18:19 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[FAQ on Spread of Ebola After NYC Doc Diagnosed]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 23:15:56 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/doctor+qa.jpg

As health officials and city leaders continue to reassure New Yorkers there's almost no chance of anyone in the general public contracting Ebola because of Dr. Craig Spencer's diagnosis, there's still a great deal of questions and concern. 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, visited NBC 4 New York to help answer some viewer questions. This is a transcript of the segment as aired on Friday. 

I want to to know how a doctor, who allegedly knows how to be protected against this virus got infected. They say it’s so hard to catch, so how is it happening? -- Deana A. 

Dr. El-Sayed: We have to remember that the process of medical care means that you are literally touching patients and in that respect, it’s very difficult to come away with something like this. 

Even then, we have to remember our doctors are protecting themselves with a lot of protective gear. But it’s very difficult to put on and off. And it’s been covered substantially in the media, that some of these challenges can lead to unfortunate infections, but that’s what happens when people put themselves in harm's way and are willing to take care of patients with this disease.

What about when an infected person sneezes? Their saliva droplets fly everywhere for everyone to breathe in, touch etc. -- Anne Marie S. 
Or say if you sit in a seat after that person and they get bodily fluids or blood on the seat, what is to say it cannot be spread? -- Elaine C.

Dr. El-Sayed: I can certainly understand the fear but it's really important to remember that the doctor didn’t actually travel on any of these public transportation lines when we think he was actually infectious.

To be infectious with this virus you have to have a really high number of copies of the virus in your blood. And when that happens, the body reacts by causing a fever. So really, it wasn’t until he had the fever that he has enough of the virus in his blood to actually be able to infect anybody.

So even though he was riding the subway, even if he sneezed, it’s highly unlikely that there was any real virus in those bodily fluids because at this point he wasn’t showing symptoms. 

We have to remember that on Thursday morning when he started to feel [feverish], the first thing that he did was come to medical attention. Before then he wasn’t having any fevers, the only thing he reported was that he was feeling a little down and tired. I think it’s a little difficult for us to attribute that to the virus itself. There's very little fear that he would have infected anybody else on the subway or on the taxi.

Why are the three associates of the doctor now in quarantine when they are showing no symptoms? -- Pete L.

Dr. El-Sayed:  Unless the index patient, in this case Dr. Spencer, was showing symptoms, there’s no way of knowing whether or not he actually had the disease. However, we do know that at this point those who have come in contact with him are substantially higher risk. And it does make sense at this point when we know the disease has occurred in that index patient to quarantine them. 

One of the things we also have to consider, though, is that even as we want to protect ourselves in the United States from this very deadly virus, we have to remember that there is an epidemic raging in West Africa. And the likelihood of more patients coming here is the function of how many cases there are in west Africa. So we don’t want to do things that are going on to keep health care workers from being able to fight that epidemic there and that really is the danger of something like a quarantine.

Now if I, as a medical professional, want to go and take care of people in west Africa with Ebola, and I know I'm going to get slapped with 21 days in quarantine when I get back, even if I'm not sick, that’s going to decrease my likelihood of doing that. 

<![CDATA[Parents Keep Kids From School Over Ebola Fears]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 01:03:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/john+pearl+elementary.jpg

Dozens of parents kept their children home from the John Pearl Elementary School in Bohemia Friday because of fears about Ebola after a student's relatives came to visit from Guinea. 

The second-grade student's aunt and cousin just flew in from Guinea, one of the three West African nations ravaged by the Ebola outbreak, according to school officials. The extended family is staying in the student's apartment, causing many parents to worry.

"I feel like they're putting the needs of one child ahead of everyone else. And everyone is very nervous," said parent Rich LaRosa. 

"It's not the fever or the flu, it's something you could die from," added parent Mike Catera.

More than 150 students were absent Friday. That's about two-thirds of the school. 

Bernadette O'Connor said the students "touch everything, they share bathrooms, they share water fountains and there's so much uncertainly about how you contract Ebola, and I would rather be safe than sorry."

A person can't get Ebola through the air, water, or food. Ebola is spread when someone touches the blood of body fluids of a person who is sick with the virus.

There is no indication that anyone from the family has Ebola, and the family members would have been subject to the new enhanced health screening when they landed.

Still, the school district announced Friday that the child would be voluntarily staying at home for 21 days.

As a result, parents said their children will be back in school on Monday, and they are grateful to the student's parents for taking every possible precaution.

On Friday, the Connetquot superintendent said in a statement: "The parents have kindly taken this step to help calm the concerns of other parents and to ensure that there is no interruption in the education of the other students at the elementary school."

The fear among parents at the school comes after a New York City doctor was confirmed to have Ebola, the first case in the tri-state and the fourth in the U.S.

Govs. Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo have since announced a mandatory 21-day quarantine for anyone returning from one of the three Ebola-ravaged West African nations who had contact with a victim. 

<![CDATA[Girl Killed, 5 Hurt in Bronx School Crash: Cops]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:39:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bronx+school+crash+girl+killed.jpg

An 8-year-old girl was killed and five other people were injured, three of them seriously, when a car jumped a curb outside a Bronx school during dismissal and hit them as they walked on the sidewalk Friday afternoon, authorities said.

A 55-year-old driver was trying to move in reverse in front of PS 307 near Claflin Avenue and Eames Place in Kingsbridge Heights around 2:45 p.m., police said. She drove over the curb and hit the pedestrians, which included two students, one staff member and three parents, according to officials. 

"As the lady's backing up to get parking, she's backing up, she came really fast and the little girl, she killed her right there," said witness Sonia Rodriguez. 

Surveillance video showed the car shooting backward at what appears to be a high rate of speed. 

The driver stayed at the scene. 

Erskine Caldwell watched as rescuers tried to save the 8-year-old girl, one of the students who was hit. 

"The little girl, everybody was focused on her," he said. "She was going in and out... it was really heartbreaking." 

The accident happened right after school dismissal. Children watching nearby were taken into the library so they didn't have to see what happened next, according to witnesses. 

All of the victims were taken to the hospital, where the child died. The other five victims were all female; three had serious injuries but were expected to survive and two had minor injuries.

All five were listed in stable condition with minor injuries at the hospital Friday afternoon. They range in age from 9 to 66.

In a statement, schools chancellor Carmen Farina said: "Today we mourn the loss of a young student. My heart breaks for this child’s family and the entire school community. I am closely monitoring this situation and we are working with the NYPD to investigate this tragedy."

She said guidance counselors will be on site to support students, parents and school staff.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Raw Video: Police Escort Ebola Patient to Bellevue]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:58:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ebola+police+scort.jpg Officers responded to the perimeter of Craig Spencer's Harlem apartment building in order to redirect traffic and escort EMS to Bellevue Hospital. The NYPD said officers did not come into contact with Spencer or enter the apartment building.]]> <![CDATA[#NYC2050: Climate Change in NYC]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:35:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/232*120/NYC-2050_1200X622.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Timeline: Tracking NYC Ebola Patient's Whereabouts]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:16:00 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ebola+map.jpg

Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old doctor who was treating Ebola patients in West Africa with the group Doctors Without Borders, returned to New York on Oct. 17. Other than feeling sluggish, he had exhibited no symptoms of the disease until Thursday. After he was admitted to Bellevue Hospital, he tested positive for the virus. He had spent the previous days at various locations across the city; doctors have said he posed no risk to the public because he was asymptomatic.

The Health Department tracked his whereabouts from when he left Guinea Oct. 14 through his diagnosis. While in Guinea, Spencer always wore personal protective equipment, and there were no known breaches in protocol, officials say. 

On Oct. 14, he took a flight from Guinea to Brussels, reporting no symptoms. On Oct. 17, he boarded a flight from Brussels to the U.S. on Brussels Airlines Flight SN0501, again reporting no symptoms. 

He landed at JFK on Oct. 17, and went through the enhanced screening required for travelers coming from Ebola-stricken nations in West Africa. He did not show any symptoms.

Here is where Spencer went in New York City after he started feeling tired on Tuesday (times are approximate).

Tuesday, Oct. 21

  • 7 a.m. Reports fatigue and exhaustion, but shows no other symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea
  • 3 p.m. Visits The Meatball Shop at 64 Greenwich Ave., spends 40 minutes there
  • 4:30 p.m. Visits the High Line, stops by Blue Bottle Coffee stand at 10th Avenue and West 16th Street
  • 5:30 p.m. Gets off the High Line at 34th Street, takes the 1 train to 145th Street

Wednesday, Oct. 22

  • 1 p.m. Goes running along Riverside Drive and West Side Highway
  • 2 p.m. Picks up Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share at 143rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue (Corbin Hill Farm), goes back to apartment on 147th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue in Hamilton Heights
  • 5:30 p.m. Leaves apartment to go to The Gutter bowling Alley in Williamsburg. Takes the A train at 145th Street, transfers at 14th Street to take L train to Bedford Avenue
  • 8:30 p.m. Leaves The Gutter. Takes Uber cab to return home 

Thursday, Oct 23

  • 10:15 a.m. Reports fever, contacts Doctors Without Borders and NYC Health Department. Immediately taken to Bellevue Hospital by FDNY EMS. 

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<![CDATA[NJ Cop Indicted on Drug Conspiracy Charges: Authorities]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:23:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gavel-shutterstock_718951991.jpg

A New Jersey police officer and two others have been indicted on drug conspiracy charges after they allegedly sold crack cocaine out of the officer's home, prosecutors say.

East Orange Police Officer Rajheher Massenburg, Andrew Jones and Wendy Rhea were all charged with the drug crimes Friday after a grand jury handed down a 21-count criminal indictment, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. Massenburg also faces official misconduct charges.

Prosecutors say that the charges come after undercover detectives bought drugs on multiple occasions from Jones from the home he and Massenburg share in East Orange. Jones is also the father of Massenburg’s children.

It’s not clear how Rhea was involved in the drug ring.

After buying the drugs, narcotics agents raided Massenburg’s home, taking crack cocaine that had been packaged for sale along with other drug paraphernalia.

Jones and Rhea are being held at Essex County Jail. Massenburg hadn’t been taken into custody as of Friday morning, prosecutors say.

Attorney information for the suspects wasn’t immediately available.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD: Elderly Man Found Dead in Central Park]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:28:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/generic+central+park+vg.jpg

Police are investigating the death of an elderly man who was found unconscious and unresponsive in Central Park.

Police say the man was found in bushes near 96th Street and Fifth Avenue at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday. EMS responded and pronounced the man dead at the scene. The man's identity has not yet been released.

The medical examiner is to determine the cause of death.

Photo Credit: Valeria Gonzalez]]>
<![CDATA[Woman, 66, Stabbed to Death in Her Apartment: NYPD]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:16:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Queens-Stabbing-NY-1024.jpg

Police say they’re looking for the person who stabbed a 66-year-old woman to death in her Queens apartment early Friday.

Rose Ragsdale was found unconscious and unresponsive with a stab wound to her chest in her apartment on 150th Avenue in Bellaire at about 3 a.m., according to the NYPD.

Ragsdale was taken to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Friends tell News 4 New York that Ragsdale was a school bus attendant for special-needs children in Queens.

No arrests have been made.

<![CDATA[Crime and Courts]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2012 11:40:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gavel.jpg

Photo Credit: Martin Poole /Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Girl, 4, Found Dead at Homeless Shelter in Queens: Cops]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:55:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/215*120/Generic+Police+Tape+Generic.JPG

A 4-year-old girl was found dead at a Queens homeless shelter and authorities are classifying her death as "suspicious," police say.

Police found the child, identified as Linayjah Meraldo, after responding to a call at the Briarwood Family Residence, a temporary housing shelter for homeless families on 134th Street, on Thursday. The little girl's four siblings were in school when she was found; the child's mother said she kept the girl home because she wasn't feeling well, according to a source familiar with the case.

There were no other adults living in the unit where the mother and children were staying.

The mother initially told police Meraldo was involved in a physical altercation with a sibling -- "a tousling thing," she called it, according to the source. The source said the mother later said the child had fallen, and that the version of events she told investigators kept changing.

The little girl was last seen in the 100-unit shelter Thursday morning, the source said. The child was active and nobody noticed bruises or other injuries, according to the source.

The family has lived at Briarwood for nearly a year.

The Department of Health and Human Services called Meraldo's death "terribly disturbing." The agency said in a statement it was working closely with police.

The child's death comes less than a week after a 3-year-old girl was found dead in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, saying the girl died from blunt impact to her head and torso. Her 20-year-old stepfather was arrested on a murder charge.

After the Brooklyn girl's death, Mayor de Blasio called for a thorough investigation. 

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Who Is Craig Spencer, 1st New York Ebola Patient?]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:25:03 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/182*120/ebola+clothes1.jpg

New York City doctor Craig Spencer is the fourth person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and the first in New York. He recently came back from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, and preliminarily tested positive for the Ebola virus at Bellevue Hospital on Thursday, Oct. 23. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the following day that he had contracted the potentially deadly disease.

He was in stable condition as of Oct. 24 and talking on the phone with extensively with family members, officials said.

Spencer is the fifth U.S. aid worker to contract the virus while working in West Africa. Dr. Kent Brantly, who recovered from Ebola earlier this year, issued a statement saying he is "grieved to hear about another health care worker contracting Ebola in West Africa.

"My prayers are with Dr. Spencer, his family and the crew taking care of him," he said in a statement released to NBC's "Today." "From everything I've read and heard about his circumstances, it sounds like New York has done everything right to contain this case."

Here's what we know so far about Spencer, his background, what he has done since coming back to the U.S. and the people with whom he may have come into contact.

Who is Craig Spencer?

Spencer, 33, is an emergency room doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Columbia Medical Center campus in Upper Manhattan. He is a Detroit native who went to Wayne State University there and has family in that area.

He attended Grosse Pointe North High School, where he played hockey and was a member of the National Honor Society, according to WDIV-TV in Detroit

His former principal there said she wasn't surprised to learn was on a humanitarian mission for Doctors Without Borders.

"I remember his smile, his energy and his positivity," said Kate Calabresa Murray. "He was the type of student you didn't have to have had in class to know him, because he was such a selfless leader." 

He was volunteering with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, one of the three West African nations experiencing an Ebola epidemic. His proficiency in the French language may have aided in his treatment in the French-speaking country. He hasn't returned to work at NewYork-Presbyterian since returning to the U.S., the hospital said in a statement.

Spencer "went to an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population," the hospital said in a statement. "He is a committed and responsible physician who always put his patients first."

Spencer graduated from the Wayne State School of Medicine in Detroit in 2008 and received a master's in public health from Columbia's University Mailman School of Public Health. He is board-certified in emergency medicine. 

"Off to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders,'' he reportedly posted on Facebook on Sept. 18, along with a photo showing him dressed in protective gear. "Please support organizations that are sending support or personnel to West Africa, and help combat one of the worst public health and humanitarian disasters in recent history.''

Spencer left for West Africa via Brussels in mid-September, according to the Facebook page. He completed his assignment there on Oct. 12 and left on Oct. 14 via Europe. He arrived in the U.S. on Oct. 17 at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

When Did Spencer Test Positive for Ebola?

Spencer participated in the enhanced screening at JFK for all travelers returning from the West African nations affected by Ebola. He did not have fever or other Ebola symptoms.

While back in New York, Spencer checked his temperature twice daily, New York City’s health commissioner Mary Travis Bassett said at a Thursday evening media briefing. He began feeling sluggish on Oct. 21, but did not have any symptoms then. He felt well enough to go on a three-mile jog this week.

On Thursday morning, between 10 and 11 a.m. ET, Spencer reported coming down with a 100.3-degree fever and diarrhea and called 911, New York's Department of Health said. Officials corrected the number Friday morning after having first said in error that his temperature was 103 degrees.

He was transported from his apartment on West 147th Street in Hamilton Heights to Bellevue, one of eight New York state hospitals designated to treat Ebola patients, by a specially trained HAZ TAC unit wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Spencer was placed in a special isolation unit at the hospital, where he's being cared for by the predesignated medical critical care team.

Doctors Without Borders said it was notified about Spencer's fever Thursday morning and immediately notified New York City health officials.

"We are fully prepared to handle Ebola," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday.

A blood sample was sent to the New York City Health Department laboratory, which is part of the Laboratory Response Network overseen by the CDC, for preliminary testing, and tested positive for Ebola. A CDC test confirmed he had contracted the disease.

What Has Spencer Done Since Returning From Africa? 

Bassett said Spencer spent most of his time in his apartment, limiting his contact with people, but he had gone on a three-mile jog, taken the A, 1 and L subway trains, visited the High Line in Manhattan, stopped by the Blue Bottle coffee shop near the elevated park, and went to The Meatball Shop on Greenwich Avenue.

He also took an Uber livery car to The Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn Wednesday night, where he met some friends and bowled.

"At the time he was at the bowling alley, he had no fever," Bassett stressed.

Who May Have Been Affected?

Health officials have been tracing Spencer's contacts to identify anyone who may be at risk. Bassett said officials were aware of four people who came in contact with Spencer: his fiancee, two friends, and the Uber driver.

The fiancee and friends who have been in direct contact with Spencer have been quarantined and are in good health, she said. They weren't yet being tested for Ebola because they were showing no symptoms, she said.

The Uber driver was determined not to be at risk because he had no direct physical contact with Spencer.

“Our understanding is that very few people were in direct contact with him," Mayor de Blasio said Thursday.

What Happens Next?

Spencer's apartment was cordoned off and the Department of Health was giving out information to area residents Thursday night. The bowling alley has been closed as a precaution, and will be examined Friday.

The Gutter said in a Facebook post Thursday that it had talked with health department officials, who determined that other bowlers weren't at risk for contracting the disease. They're cleaning the business as an extra precaution and will reopen afterward. 

Officials have Spencer's MetroCard to track where he's traveled. They said there's a "close to nil" chance anyone was exposed on the subway.

"There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," de Blasio said. "We've been preparing for months for the threat of Ebola with clear and strong protocols that were scrupulously followed in this instance."

A specially trained team determined earlier this week that Bellevue Hospital has been trained in proper protocols and is well prepared to handle Ebola patients, the CDC said.

Several members of the CDC's rapid response team were on their way to New York on Thursday night, and others were arrived Friday morning.

President Obama spoke Thursday night to de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo and offered the federal government's support, The Associated Press reported. He asked them to stay in close touch with Ron Klain, his "Ebola czar," as well as public health officials in Washington.

<![CDATA[WATCH: Cuomo, De Blasio's Ebola News Conference]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:26:39 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/De-Blasio-Ebola-Presser-1024.jpg Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo assured New Yorkers in a news conference at Bellevue Hospital Thursday night there's no reason to be alarmed by the diagnosis, even though New York City's first Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, had taken a subway to Brooklyn, bowled at an alley in Williamsburg, took a cab and visited the High Line in the days before he began exhibiting symptoms.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola in New York]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:15:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/craig-spencer.jpg Craig Spencer, a doctor who recently returned from an Ebola assignment with Doctors Without Borders in West Africa, has returned to New York and tested positive for the disease. See photos from the scene. ]]> <![CDATA[Armed Robbers Approach Homeowners in Driveways: Cops]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:07:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/home+robbery.JPG

Police on Long Island say they’re investigating after a pair of homeowners said they were accosted by armed robbers in their own driveways.

Nassau County police say the robberies, about 15 minutes apart in South Hempstead and West Hempstead Wednesday nigh, appear related. Authorities are looking into whether they may be part of a larger pattern.

Police say that the homeowner in West Hempstead was approached by robbers as he got out of his car on Nightingale Road at about 9:30 p.m. The suspects showed a handgun and told him to hand over his property. They ran away before taking anything when his pregnant wife pulled into the driveway.

Police say the second homeowner was robbed about 15 minutes later, also by three men with a handgun. The robbers showed the gun as he got out of his car on Maple Drive and took the victim’s wallet and cellphone.

No one was injured in either robbery. Neighbors were shaken up.

"It's nerve-wracking to hear about that right next door and it wasn't that late at night," said Kathy Jansen, who lives nearby. "We gotta take precautions and watch when we get out of the car. You have to be careful."

"I'm always looking over my shoulder, which I think everybody should," added neighbor Butch Flobeck.

Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[The Death of Eric Garner]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:45:32 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/eric+garner+death+inset.jpg

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2 Arrested in Woman's Attack, Robbery on NYC Street]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:27:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/crown+heights+robbery.jpg

Two suspects have been arrested on robbery and assault charges in the attack on a 21-year-old woman on a Brooklyn street earlier this month, and authorities are looking for a third person of interest.

Officials say a 24-year-old Bronx man and a 24-year-old Brooklyn man were charged Thursday in the Oct. 2 attack. They say they're looking for a third man, 25-year-old Sanjae Douglas.

Surveillance video shows three suspects walking on Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights as the victim comes into the camera view from the opposite direction. As she walks past them, one suspect turns his head while another appears to grab her around the neck and slam her against the wall of a building.

That suspect repeatedly punches the woman in the face and stomach, then the other two suspects sidle up and start pawing at the woman, possibly looking for more valuables, before dragging her on the cement by her feet, her hood, and finally, her purse.

Eventually, one of the suspects pulls the woman's purse away and the three run off, leaving her lying on the street. Police said her cellphone was also stolen.

The woman was taken to the hospital with a broken nose and facial lacerations.

Anyone with information about Douglas' whereabouts is asked to call police. 

<![CDATA[Map: Where Ebola Patient Dr. Craig Spencer Has Been]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:45:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ebola+map.jpg
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<![CDATA[Schools Officials Investigate Nude Pics, Lewd Tweets]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:24:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/elizabeth+schools+twitter+sexting.jpg

Officials in a New Jersey school district say they're investigating a sexting scandal involving multiple schools and that they've notified police. 

According to Elizabeth school district officials, multiple Twitter accounts are tweeting out nude photos that they claim to be of students, along with "lewd, insulting and highly offensive messages." 

It's not known if the people behind the Twitter accounts are students, but they have logos of the schools in their profile photos.

Police are investigating whether the girls in the pictures are in fact students and are underage, which would make it child pornography, according to officials. 

"What was being put on there were various forms of harassment, bullying and in many cases, could be construed as criminal behavior," said Elizabeth schools spokesman Donald Goncalvez. 

The 5,300 high school students at all six high schools in the district were warned about the investigation by their respective principals, and given letters saying the perpetrators could face criminal charges.

At one school, the William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership Academy, principal Jeffrey Roszkowski wrote the district "will not tolerate the sending of harassing, intimidating or bullying tweets or other messages that create a hostile educational environment." 

The district said any student who tweets, retweets or favorites one of the offensive messages, or who follows the offensive tweeters will be disciplined. The district will also "take whatever other legal actions are available to it to unmask these anonymous harassers and impose appropriate discipline," the letter stated. 

Elizabeth police have also been notified and are investigating. The district says it's planning to brief the school board and notify parents. 

Officials said they've also notified Twitter to remove the accounts. Some have been suspended, but NBC 4 New York found at least two still running Thursday evening. 

<![CDATA[Lady Liberty to Don Halloween Costume: Report]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:46:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP13062605022.jpg

This year, even the Statue of Liberty will be getting dressed up for Halloween, according to USA Today.

The newspaper reports that Joe Boxer founder Nick Graham is planning to fly vividly colored 60-foot-wide bow ties hanging from helicopters in front of Lady Liberty beginning 8 a.m. Oct. 31 to mark the launch of an eponymous menswear brand.

The bow ties, one black and one white, will pass about 1,000 feet in front of the statue to create the illusion that the monument is wearing the neck wear.

"It's going to be a big collection, so what better way to launch it than the Statue of Liberty," Graham told USA Today.

Two ties will pass in front of the statue for several hours before heading up the Hudson River.

Graham said the stunt hasn’t been approved yet by the FAA.

The National Park Service said it is aware of the plans, but wouldn’t have any say about the flyby since the helicopters won’t pass directly over Liberty Island.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Jersey Shore Residents: "No Thanks" to Beach Rebuilding]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:06:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/jersey-shore-beach-plan.JPG

Homeowners in Bay Head are saying "no thanks" to Gov. Christie and the Army Corps of Engineer over plans to rebuild the beach in their town and several other seaside communities in northern Ocean County.

The state admits it has only secured one of the beach easements it needs to get from 124 property owners, according to Bob Martin, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.

"Sad to say is that we're finding a lot of selfish homeowners on the oceanfront that want their property, want their private beach in front of them," Martin told NBC New York on Thursday.

Martin said the state is prepared to exercise its power of eminent domain under the Coastal Protection Act within the next several weeks, in order to meet the Army Corps of Engineers deadline to begin sand pumping by next spring.

But homeowner Thatcher Brown, one of those leading the opposition to the project, said the easement would take up to half of what he calls his "front yard," which is the wide dune-line where he has built a deck overlooking the 3,000-mile view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Brown admitted he fears that after the public easement area is redrawn to include his deck, some beachgoer might walk up have a beer or two. But he says there is a much bigger issue.

"We've always paid to protect ourselves and we don't need the government to waste their money on pumping sand that's only going to wash away," Brown said.

He explained that after Hurricane Sandy, in which virtually every home in Bay Head was protected by the dunes in place at the time, almost all the homeowners got together and raised $2 million to build their own rock sea wall and cover it with new dunes.

But Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Keith Watson said that whatever protection Bay Head residents think they have, the sand pumping project in the works will include several communities from Point Pleasant Beach all the way down to Island Beach State Park. Not doing Bay Head would be like leaving "a hole in the dike," Watson said.

Bay Head homeowners aren't buying that, and if they lose the battle over the actual taking of the easements, are vowing to fight the valuation of them in court. If they win large amounts, that has the potential to stop the project if the state can't afford the final price tag.

Photo Credit: NBC New York ]]>
<![CDATA[40,000 Patients' Medical Records Stolen From Office: Cops]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:09:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/doctor-health-generic-1200-021.jpg

Medical records pertaining to about 40,000 patients over nearly two decades were stolen from a doctor's office in New Jersey earlier this week, authorities say.

Police say Nisar Quraishi, a general practitioner with more than 40 years of experience and offices in Jersey City and Manhattan, reported Tuesday that someone had cut through latches on a storage locker at his Jersey City office on Chopin Court and stolen the documents.

Quraishi told police a resident in the neighborhood called him to tell him the shed door was open, and when Quraishi went to check it out, he found all of his medical records from 1982-2009 were missing.

The stolen boxes had personal information, including social security numbers and home addresses, of about 40,000 patients he had treated and may still be treating, he told police.

Quraishi, who is also a clinical assistant professor at NYU Langone , told police he hadn't been to the storage shed since mid-August, at which point it was still locked. He said he had "no idea" who may have broken in, and he couldn't say whose information was stolen.

Police said there were no security cameras in the area.  

<![CDATA[School Bus, Fuel Truck Crash on L.I.: Police]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:40:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tlmd_school_bus_generic1.jpg

A fuel truck collided with a school bus on a Long Island highway service road Thursday afternoon, and several students were taken to the hospital to be evaluated, police say.

The fuel truck was going eastbound on Sunrise Highway south service road when it collided with a school bus going northbound on Saxon Avenue, Suffolk police said. 

Several students from the Islip school district, ages 13 to 17, were on board the bus and were taken to local hospitals to be checked out as a precaution, police said.

The driver of the fuel truck was not injured, and the driver of the school bus redused medical attention at the scene.

It's not clear what caused the crash. 

<![CDATA[NY, NJ Tighten Standards for Travelers at Risk for Ebola]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:59:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tlmd_newark_hospital_ebola_st.jpg

Anyone flying into John F. Kennedy or Newark Liberty International Airport after having contact with Ebola-infected patients in one of three West African nations battling an epidemic of the deadly virus will face a mandatory 21-day quarantine, the governors of New York and New Jersey announced Friday.

“We have to do more," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. "It's too serious of a situation to leave it to the honor system of compliance."

The new measures came one day after a doctor who had recently returned from an Ebola assignment in Guinea was diagnosed with the virus in New York City. In addition to the mandatory quarantine for those who came in direct contact with patients in the Ebola-ravaged nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, health officials at those two airports have been authorized to actively monitor and quarantine if necessary anyone with a travel history in that region.

Craig Spencer, a doctor just back from a month-long stint treating Ebola patients for Doctors Without Borders, was admitted into an isolation unit at Bellevue Hospital on Thursday, less than a week after he arrived home. In the days prior to his Ebola diagnosis, he made several outings in the city, including coffee in one of Manhattan’s tourist-packed parks, a stop by a meatball shop and a subway ride to Brooklyn for an evening of bowling with friends.

While Spencer followed the self-monitoring protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some experts are now suggesting health workers who return from Ebola-ravaged areas do more to avoid public places.

City officials praised the quick response to his illness and said Spencer, the city's first reported Ebola patient, followed all the proper steps to monitor his health and minimize exposure. But Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in retrospect those steps weren't enough.

"New Jersey and New York are going to determine the standards of quarantine since the CDC's guidance is continually changing," Christie said.

The governor tweeted that a health care worker who arrived at Newark International Airport after treating Ebola patients in West Africa is now under quarantine and has no symptoms.

The Obama administration also is considering quarantining healthcare workers returning to the United States from the Ebola hot zone of West Africa, Reuters reported.

Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Reuters on Friday that quarantine was one option being discussed regarding the monitoring of healthcare workers.

"We want to strike the right balance of doing what is best to protect the public’s health while not impeding whatsoever our ability to combat the epidemic in West Africa,” Skinner said. “Our risk here will not be zero until we stop the epidemic there.”

Some public health experts were already urging added extra caution as more doctors and others potentially exposed to the virus return from the front lines of fighting the outbreak in West Africa. Tighter restrictions on such health care workers could prevent mass hysteria and make the job easier on health detectives in the event of a positive Ebola test, they say.

Dr. Joseph McCormick, a professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health who has cared for Ebola patients, said while putting a large number of people in quarantine because of possible casual interaction “is not warranted,” as the virus can only be spread by contact with the bodily fluids of person with symptoms, some situations may merit more prudence.

“I would say that for somebody like a health provider like the physician who clearly was in direct contact with patients, I’m not sure that total quarantine is needed but I think a more cautious approach to traveling around the city probably would be warranted,” McCormick, a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official who investigated the first Ebola epidemic, said. “We all have to balance our messages here.”

The safeguards followed by Spencer, recommended by the CDC and Doctors Without Borders, included taking his temperature twice daily, watching for fever and other symptoms during the virus’ 21-day incubation period. Living in New York, he was well within the recommended 4-hour radius of a hospital with isolation facilities. When his temperature hit 100.3 degrees Thursday morning, he called health officials and was quickly moved to Bellevue Hospital.

Still, at least one other relief group operating in West Africa has gone beyond the CDC recommendations in light of the heightened public concern following the infection of two nurses treating an Ebola patient at a Dallas hospital, including one who took flights to and from Ohio while she was self-monitoring for signs of the virus.

Samaritan’s Purse is mandating that employees who return from its efforts in Liberia undergo a “self-imposed, no-touch self sequestration” for 21 days that limits even physical contact with family members, according to Kendell Kauffeldt, the Christian international relief organization’s longtime country director in Liberia. Employees of the organization, which made headlines after its own Dr. Kent Brantly survived an infection, are also required to take their temperature four times a day, with the trigger for alerting officials set one degree lower than the CDC's level. They require returning staff, including three who are currently in the incubation period, stay within 90 minutes of an isolation facility for those three weeks.

Kauffeldt, who lived in Liberia for 10 years before returning to the United States with his family in August, stressed that Spencer took all the required steps and the potential of “anyone else becoming infected is almost zero because he followed the protocol.” He said the added precautions enacted for his own colleagues were simply meant to go even farther to ensure general public health, the safety of their employees and peace of mind.

“It was really just in reaction to the situations in Dallas and just recognizing that there is a level of uninformed fear, but we still as an organization have a responsibility to the general public to ensure we were doing everything possible for their safety and their health,’ he said.

The protocols for monitoring and protecting those workers will likely remain in the spotlight, as more are deployed to fight an outbreak that has sickened more than 10,000 since March. Demand for doctors is still high, and thousands have volunteered through an online portal USAID set up in early September to match qualified applicants with aid organizations.

Doctors, nurses and other medical aides are considered at the highest risk for contracting the virus because they deal with bodily fluids from the sickest of patients and the World Health Organization says an “unprecedented” number have been infected in this outbreak. In all, more than 440 health care workers have contracted Ebola and 244 have died as of Oct. 19, the WHO says. Six other American health workers — four who worked in Africa and two from a Dallas hospital that treated a patient from Liberia — contracted Ebola and recovered after receiving treatment in the U.S.

Both New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett and National Institute of Health’s Anthony Fauci, who cared for one of the Dallas nurses, suggested Friday that the federal guidelines for monitoring are the subject of active discussion.


Eden Wells, clinical associate professor of epidemiology and director of the Preventive Medicine Residency at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, said she would personally restrict her movements if she were returning from West Africa or had been caring for someone with Ebola. She stressed she did was not criticizing Spencer, who she noted followed the current protocols.

She’d take the more cautious approach “not only just to reassure the public but it is also to aid public health epidemiologist disease detective, because the more contact that’s out there that has to be investigated because someone did leave the home really taxes the system.”

“Whether they’re sick or not sick what happens is any time a case like this happens there’s an incredible amount of resources undertaken to do the investigation to reassure everyone that there’s not then another case as a result of a contact,” she said.

Doctors Without Borders, which did not return multiple interview requests, said in a statement Friday that it will investigate how Spencer contracted the virus. But it acknowledged that even with its “Extremely strict procedures “ for staff, the “risk cannot be completely eliminated.”

"Tragically, as we struggle to bring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa under control, some members of our staff have not been spared," Executive Director Sophie Delaunay said in a statement."Our thoughts are with our colleague in his own struggle right now, and we sincerely hope for his quick and full recovery."

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<![CDATA[Despite Strict Protocol, Risks Remain for Ebola Doctors: Group]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:25:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tlmd_newark_hospital_ebola_st.jpg

The medical and humanitarian organization that employed the New York doctor who tested positive for the Ebola virus said that the risk for staff returning from the front lines in West Africa can't be completely eliminated, even with "extremely strict procedures" to protect against the potentially deadly disease. 

Craig Spencer tested positive for the potentially deadly virus at New York's Bellevue Hospital on Thursday, six days after he arrived home from an Ebola assignment in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders.  He is the first Ebola case in New York City and the fourth diagnosed in the United States.

Doctors Without Borders, which is also known internationally as Médecins Sans Frontières, said the doctor who contracted the virus followed its guidelines for self-monitoring, which includes checking temperature twice a day and staying within four hours of a hospital with isolation facilities during a 21-day incubation period. He was admitted to the hospital on Thursday after reporting a fever of 100.3 degrees. 

"Extremely strict procedures are in place for staff dispatched to Ebola affected countries before, during, and after their assignments," Sophie Delaunay, executive director of MSF, said in a statement. "Despite the strict protocols, risk cannot be completely eliminated. However, close post-assignment monitoring allows for early detection of cases and for swift isolation and medical management."

The organization has launched a "thorough investigation" to identify how Spencer contracted Ebola.

More than 10,000 people have fallen ill with Ebola since the outbreak began in March, creating a dire need for international health workers in the West African countries that have been hardest hit. 

Spencer, 33, is one of more than 700 international staff Doctors Without Borders has sent to Ebola-stricken countries since March. Three international staff and 21 locally employed staff have fallen ill with the virus since that time, with 13 dying of the disease.

“Tragically, as we struggle to bring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa under control, some members of our staff have not been spared,” Delaunay said in the statement. “Our thoughts are with our colleague in his own struggle right now, and we sincerely hope for his quick and full recovery.”

Scores of other aid groups and health workers have stepped up as well. More than 3,700 people have signed up using an online portal USAID launched in early September to connect potential volunteers with aid organizations, said Lisa Hibbert-Simpson, press officer with USAID. Demand for more help hasn't slowed, she said.

“The need will exist until we have it under control," she said. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says health workers are among those facing the highest risk of contracting the virus, which is spread through contact with bodily fluids from a person who is already showing symptoms.

In late August, the World Health Organization called the "high proportion" of doctors, nurses and heath care workers infected "unprecedented." As of late October, the virus had sickened more than 440 health care workers worldwide, claiming the lives of 224.

Four American health workers and a freelance cameraman for NBC who fell ill after working in West Africa have recovered from Ebola after receiving treatment back in the United States. Two nurses in Dallas who contracted the virus while caring for a patient diagnosed there were also recently declared Ebola free. That patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, has been the only person to die of the virus in the U.S. so far.

Officials in New York have said the risk to the public is minimal given the timing of Spencer's symptoms and admission to the isolation unit.   They believe he had direct contact with fiancee and two friends, before going to the hospital. The three have been quarantined and are in good health, New York City's health commissioner said.

<![CDATA[7 Exposed to Fumes During Factory Fire: FDNY]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:08:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/HAZMAT-FIRE-Brooklyn-East-NY.jpg

Fire officials say that seven firefighters were overcome by potentially hazardous fumes from an unknown substance during a blaze at an abandoned factory in Brooklyn early Thursday.

The substance in a kiln stove caught fire in the two-story factory on Belmont Avenue in East New York at about 1:15 a.m., according to the FDNY.

Firefighters arrived on scene a few minutes later and let the fire burn itself out because of the possibility that dousing the substance with water could cause an explosion, officials said. The blaze was under control within an hour.

A hazardous materials crew was then brought to the scene to identify the substance that caught fire, according to the FDNY.

The firefighters who had been exposed to the fumes were taken to Kings County Hospital in serious condition, officials say. They were treated and released later Thursday morning.

It is not yet clear what substance the firefighters may have been exposed to.

It is also unknown what sparked the blaze in the abandoned building that at one time housed a company named Belmont Metals.

-- Katherine Creag contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[NYPD Probes Video That Shows Officer Kicking Colleague]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:57:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Subway-NYPD-Suspect-Kicked.jpg

The NYPD says it is investigating after video was released that appears to show a plainclothes officer kicking a colleague in the head and punching a suspect during an arrest at a Brooklyn subway station earlier this year.

DNAinfo first released the video, which it says was shot by a bystander in Coney Island's Stillwell Avenue station in January.

It shows a uniformed officer and an undercover cop in a jacket and sock hat trying to arrest an alleged farebeater near one of the station's emergency exits. The suspect and undercover officer tussle and go to the ground while the other officers try to cuff the man.

Several other officers arrive at the scene. One, wearing a sweatshirt, jeans and heavy work boots, walks up to the suspect and officer on the ground and appears to swiftly kick his colleague. The impact was hard enough that a dull thud can be heard in the video.

After the kick, a woman standing off camera can be heard saying, “He kicked the cop” as the officers swarm the suspect.

The officer who was kicked is then pulled away from the suspect. He is holding the back of his head and appears to be slightly dazed as his comrades pull him away.

Meanwhile, the video shows the officer who kicked the officer join other police officers holding down the suspect. That officer then appears to punch the suspect in the side of the face as several others cops tell him to stop resisting.

After the suspect is cuffed and pulled to his feet, he looks at the camera and says. “Y’all saw that, right?,” apparently in reference to the punch.

Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association union, said in a statement the cellphone video was an "amateur production" that did not provide enough information to come to any conclusion about what happened. 

"The rush to judgment will leave this city with an impotent police department where police officers will be afraid to act and neighborhoods will be left to the mercy of the criminals," he said. "Resisting and interfering with an arrest is against the law. Just anyone with a smart phone camera should not be allowed to interfere with police operations and set the agenda." 

DNAinfo says the video garnered nearly 1 million views online before being taken down earlier this year. It resurfaced after a bystander posted video of Staten Island police putting Eric Garner in a chokehold in July. Garner died and the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. 

Since then, several other videos showing apparent police misconduct have been posted online.

<![CDATA[3 Would-Be Robbers Flee Brooklyn Jewelry Store]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:20:51 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/scott+jewelers.JPG

Police are investigating an attempted robbery at a Brooklyn jewelry store in which a gunshot was fired as a security guard confronted one of the suspects, police say. 

Three men walked into Scott Jewelers on Kings Highway Wednesday afternoon, some wearing masks, and tried to rob the store, according to police. 

A security guard at the store knocked the gun out of the hands of one of the robbers, police said. A shot was fired as the gun was dropped, but no one was hurt. 

The three men ran out with nothing, but dropped a hammer in the process. Police collected it as evidence.

<![CDATA[Bus Crashes Onto Sidewalk in NYC, 7 Hurt: MTA]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:14:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/217*120/bus+accident+bk+oct+22.JPG

Seven people were hurt when an MTA bus crashed onto a sidewalk in Brooklyn, authorities say.

A car struck a B61 bus at Dwight and Coffey streets in Red Hook, sending the bus into some parked cars and onto the curb shortly before 6 p.m., the MTA said. 

Six passengers on board the bus and the driver were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to the FDNY.

<![CDATA[Famed Painting Mystery Swirls Around NYC Restaurant]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:02:17 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nighthawk+diner.jpg

Artist Edward Hopper's famous "Nighthawks" painting has had admirers speculating for years whether the diner depicted was inspired by a real-life eatery, and one Greenwich Village restaurant owner is convinced he knows the answer.

Fiko Uslu, owner of the newly opened Classic's Cafe at Greenwich and Christopher streets, says he's so sure the space was the setting for the classic 1942 painting that he wants to rename the restaurant Nighthawks.

"We did a lot of research, a lot of legal paperwork," he said. "I don't want to get anything wrong."

The painting shows an all-night diner in which three customers are seated, lost in their own thoughts, under an "eerie glow," according to a description on the Art Institute of Chicago website.

Classic's Cafe manager, Alex Vigro, said they never thought about a connection until a mystery man named Mark stopped by last week and pointed out some similarities.

"These windows right there, the view in front of us, they still remain the same," he said. "The corner, I think everything, the design, everything is really similar."

It's not the only location that has been suggested as the inspiration for Hopper's painting, which hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. A building housing what is now a flower shop is one of at least three Greenwich Avenue locations frequently discussed, and it's not lost on local residents.

"Certainly the shape of this building with the windows, and the way it comes to a peak, potentially," said Cynthia Kueppers.

Blogger Jeremiah Moss has chronicled his journey to find the real-life Nighthawks diner, writing in a 2010 New York Times op-ed piece that city folklore has suggested that Mulry Square -- a triangular lot at Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue South -- was the site of the diner. His research found that it couldn't be the case because a gas station stood there from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Hopper himself has said the painting was inspired by a "restaurant on Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet," according to the Art Institute of Chicago, but never got more specific than that.

Carter Foster, the curator of drawing for the Whitney Museum, which has 2,500 drawings donated by the artist's widow, making it one of the largest Hopper collections anywhere, said the painting was probably influenced by multiple locations on the avenue.

"There were three corners on Greenwich Avenue, not Greenwich Street, where Hopper walked by frequently that were roughly the same shape as the diner in 'Nighthawks,' and I think those were the inspiration in a very general way, as was the tip of the Flatiron building," said Foster.

The artist with the answers died in 1967, leaving behind his painting and the speculation that goes along with it.

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<![CDATA[1 Dog Dead, Another Sick in NJ Backyard: Officials]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:22:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/10.22.14PatersonPitbull027+copy.jpg

Animal control officers in New Jersey are investigating after a dog was found dead in a backyard in Paterson, and another was found very sick, authorities say.

Paterson animal control said they received a call from a neighbor about the two dogs on East 28th Street. 

One dog, a female, was found dead, and the other, a male, had sores on his paws and had difficulty walking, officials said. 

The dog was taken to Second Chance Pet Adoption in Morris Plains to be treated, officers said. 

Authorities are looking for the dog's owners, who are likely to be charged.