Niagara Gazette

September 23, 2013

Suspect in earlier abuse case is caught brutally beating a puppy

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

A Falls man, already linked to one animal abuse case, was arrested Monday after witnesses found him beating another puppy.

Lee Jones, 23, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

A Rural Metro paramedic, treating a patient in a home on 28th Street Monday morning, heard what she thought were the screams of a very small puppy.

Sarah Zimmerman and her partner ran outside the house and saw Jones holding a puppy off the ground, by her scruff, and repeatedly striking her in the head with a blunt object.  Jones that dropped the puppy to the ground. 

The puppy scrambled across the street to where Zimmerman and her partner were standing and the paramedic scooped the animal into her arms. 

Jones then confronted the paramedics and demanded the puppy back, but they refused to give up the animal.

"She won't be returned to you until the Police arrive." Zimmerman told Jones. "This dog is so young. What could she have done to warrant this abuse?" 

Jones told Zimmerman the puppy "needed to be disciplined." 

As Jones began to argue with and become threatening toward the paramedics, Zimmerman was able to hide the shaken puppy inside her turn-out coat and maneuver around to the other side of her ambulance until police arrived and took Jones into custody.

Neighbors told police that they have heard cries from the 6-week old puppy over the course of the past two weeks, but were too afraid to speak up because of Jones' reputation for violence. Jones has been arrested by Falls police in the past for disorderly conduct and domestic violence. 

He was also questioned in an animal abuse case earlier this year. In that incident, Gladys, an 8-week-old puppy, was found by two Modern Disposal employees with a broken jaw and severely swollen face. The puppy had been left in a trash can.

Jones, and girlfriend Sherry Sanney, admitted to owning Gladys, but they claimed they "sold the puppy several days before" the incident. Because of a lack of evidence in that case, neither Jones nor Shanney were charged. 

The injured puppy was taken the SPCA of Niagara shelter. Now dubbed Karma by the SPCA staff, the dog was described as "very sweet considering all that she has endured."

"She does show some signs of physical abuse including abrasions to her head and hind legs and urine burns on her belly," SPCA Shelter Director Amy Lewis said. "She will be placed in foster care with her rescuer, Zimmerman, who has expressed interest in adopting her."

Lewis praised Zimmerman and her partner stepped forward to save the puppy.

"(They) didn't just drive away as they so easily could have done," Lewis said. "Thanks to Zimmerman, Karma will no longer have to endure that violence. She is safe and sound now and will have the home she deserves."