This case has gone to the dogs.
A Mamaroneck man who told a cop that he kept his dog in a locked car for up to six hours — then sued the government over being charged with animal cruelty — was muzzled by a county judge who threw out the man’s complaint on Friday.
According to court papers, the legal barking began on Nov. 4, 2008, when Mamaroneck Town Police Officer Daniel Smith responded to a call about a dog being locked inside of a parked lot. When the owner, Steven M. Schwartz, returned, the officer asked him how long the pooch was parked. Schwartz replied, “I don’t know, four, five, maybe six hours. I do it all the time.”
The officer charged Schwartz with animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, and a misdemeanor complaint was filed by the Westchester County District Attorney’s office One problem: the DA’s office filed it in the wrong court. The Town Court said it should have been filed with the Village Court, and dismissed the charge for lack of jurisdiction.
Schwartz, not satisfied that he got out of a criminal charge, sued the Town of Mamaroneck for false arrest and malicious prosecution in 2009. He never denied leaving the dog for hours, but claimed he checked on the dog and left water for him in the back seat, court papers stated. Schwartz also accused the officer of charging him after they argued. The officer, in his report, described Schwartz as “agitated, abusive, irate, and belligerent.”
Acting state Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Colabella dismissed the complaint, saying the officer had probable cause to charge Schwartz with animal cruelty.