NY Man Accused Of Drowning Girlfriend’s Dog Pleads Not Guilty ; Public Furious

A man from upstate New York pleaded “Not Guilty” to aggravated animal cruelty after being accused of drowning his girlfriend’s dog in the Hudson River, the NY Daily News reported.

On April 3, a man reported finding a small, mixed designer breed dog dead near the shoreline of Havilands Cove Beach. The animal had been muzzled and bound with black electrical tape, and police said the dog appeared to have drowned. Matthew Wisell of Glens Falls was arrested late last Friday.

Police confirmed the small dog belonged to Wisell’s girlfriend. It was alleged the dog was having minor behavioral problems, and Wisell’s girlfriend was trying to find a new home for the dog. Wisell reportedly told his girlfriend that he found a new owner for the dog, but authorities believe the man chose to kill the animal instead.

“The condition it was found; it was malicious intent, and somebody obviously murdered this animal,” Detective Sergeant Peter Casterino of the Glens Falls Police Department told the ABC News affiliate in NY. Detectives provided a photo of the drowned dog when they were searching for leads in the case, and the image generated a great deal of outrage among animal lovers everywhere. (Those who wish to view the photo can find it here.)

http://t.co/n7HzrtfFyU I am crying..You should have seen the picture on the news.It scarred me fo life

— °·°·Hallie·°·° (@0pickles1) April 5, 2014

Sergeant Casterino told the reporter he had heard of dog-killing cases like this before. “We’ve seen a few cases like this,” Casterino said of the drowning. “They’re luckily few and far between. It is a felony, and it would be a part of Buster’s Law.” Aggravated animal cruelty is punishable under the NY State agriculture and market law in section 353.

Police brought the dog’s remains to the SPCA of Upstate NY, where Kathy Cloutier is the executive director. Cloutier told the ABC News reporter that there were other options available. “There’s no excuse for what happened,” the director said. “If someone comes up and says, ‘Oh yeah, the dog bit my child or whatever,’ that’s not an excuse either because you can go to your vet and you can have your animal euthanized and a 12-14 pound animal is not going to break the bank.”

On the same day the drowned dog was found, the NY man apparently changed his Facebook cover photo to an image of a kitten. It is rumored that the SPCA in NY is now looking into the safety of the kitten. Also, on the same day, Wissel’s Facebook shows a Bitstrip comic that has been captioned, “Matthew feels Susan is world’s apart from him.” Wissel’s image post has been shared by another Facebook user with a comment that says, “Maybe that’s because you murdered her dog and finally got arrested for it?”

Twitter users are equally as angry:

In a comment on the NY Daily News article, a user identified as Jimmy H wrote, “Wouldn’t the proper punishment for this cretin be to bound his arms and legs with tape and drop him in the river as well!!” Because of the high emotions involved with animal abuse cases, the judge issued a full order of protection for the NY man accused of drowning his girlfriend’s dog.

[Photo of Glens Falls, NY by Doug Kerr – Photo of Wissel via local authorities]