EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 26, 2013

Police arrest Lawrence dog walker for cruelty

Pit bull's owner tells police she had no idea about alleged mistreatment of dog


“The owner was shocked by the charges and had no idea about the abuse. The dog is properly registered, has all the proper shots and is getting the best of care, as far as we’re concerned. Officer Bistany observed no signs of abuse,” the chief said.

If convicted of the animal cruelty charge, Velazquez faces punishment of up to 5 years in state prison or 21/2 years in the county jail, or a fine of up to $2,500 or a fine and imprisonment.

“(Velazquez) denied that he had hit the dog,” said Donna Sanchez, Garfield’s sister.

“He said he had raised the leash in his hand just to scare him and stop him from going into the street. But he went into the street. There are no signs whatsoever of abuse. We really don’t know if the dog was abused. She’s (Garfield) just thankful she got her dog back,” she said.

“It was a very stressful time for her. He’s a very lovable dog and she was going crazy worrying about him.”

Domenick remained in the custody police overnight while Velazquez sat in a jail cell. Garfield didn’t find out what happened until the next day.

Sanchez said her sister thinks Velazquez is a “good kid,” but won’t be walking the dog anymore.

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