Police in Westchester County said a veterinarian entrusted to take care of pets has been doing the exact opposite, and now faces multiple counts of animal abuse after photos showed him allegedly hitting — and even choking — animals.
The disturbing details out of Main Street Animal Hospital in Elmsford are enough to make anyone cringe. Pictures given to NBC New York by the Westchester SPCA show the alleged abuse at the hands of Dr. Javier Diaz, as one photo shows him appear to choke a dog. Investigators said he also kicked a three legged German Shepard as part of the abuse the SPCA said took place between April 9-22.
"He was kicking some animals. He was punching other animals in the ribs," said Earnest Lungaro of the Westchester SPCA. "That’s why we really had to move in and shut him down last night."
A sign on the front door of the animal hospital Friday said that it had been shut down by the village; another sign told customers to call another clinic. Looking in through a window, the inside appeared that the clinic was closed down abruptly, and no pets to be found.
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Diaz bolted out of the Elmsford Police Department when NBC New York asked him questions regarding the abuse, simply shouting "No!" as he ran away. It came after he was released by a judge.
Barbara Moroch, whose cat was treated by Diaz, came by the clinic after she found out police had arrested the veterinarian. She stopped coming in December.
"I’m glad I took my cat away from him.," Moroch said.
Investigators believe there could be more victims.
"Devastating if the accusation is true. It would just be heartbreaking," said Michael Eannazzo, who recently lost his dog. He said the charges make him wonder what happened behind closed doors.
"I pray to god he wasn’t but the circumstances we kind of felt all along there wasn’t something right," said Eannazzo. "But we don’t know."
In court, it was learned that three employees reported Diaz to police, and prosecutors alleged that Diaz also threatened three staff members. He’s charged with forgery, six counts of animal cruelty and assault. Attorney information for Diaz was not immediately available.