What to Know
Aaron Kluger, 20, was arrested on animal cruelty charges after authorities say he bit out his family's dog
Kluger's father insists the injury was accidental, and the report was "blown way out of proportion"; his son is now getting death threats
Chloe had surgery and is recovering well; the family says they're now fighting to restore their reputation
A Long Island family is hitting back against accusations that their son bit out the eye of their 3-year-old pet Shih Tzu, claiming the charges are untrue and unfair and that reports of the dog's injury have been exaggerated.
Aaron Kluger, 20, was arrested on animal torture charges after the Nassau County SPCA claimed he bit and pulled out the right eye of his family dog Chloe.
But on Tuesday, Chloe was in good spirits at her Port Washington home, with both eyes intact.
"He was kissing Chloe. She jerked away, and her eye was slightly displaced," said Chloe's owner, Dan Kluger, the father of Aaron.
"It's very easy for a Shih Tzu to have an eye displaced. They have a shallow eye socket," said Dan Kluger.
The American Kennel Club's description of the breed confirms that. Veterinarians can reattach the eye, which happened with Chloe.
The Nassau County SPCA began looking into Chloe's case after hearing from the vet who treated her on Nov. 6, and police arrested Aaron Kluger on Saturday after their investigation led them to believe the dog had been intentionally injured.
Now his son has been receiving hundreds of death threats since news of his arrest, Dan said.
Dan said his son is a heroin addict and classified as emotionally disabled. But Aaron would never have meant to hurt the family dog, he insisted.
"Now my son is suicidal and afraid to leave the house," said Dan Kluger.
Aaron himself also took to Facebook to post a video defending himself. In it, Chloe can be seen on the couch playing with a stuffed animal, and Aaron says, "This is me, Aaron Kluger. Very misleading news articles have been release saying I bit her eye out."
The SPCA and prosecutors maintained they don't take the charges lightly. Aaron Kluger is expected to make his first court appearance on Dec. 27.