Convicted dog-abuser Alsu Ivanchenko was sentenced to a year in jail, forbidden from owning an animal for 15 years and ordered to pay hefty restitution to the ASPCA.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. –- She had an opportunity, but convicted dog-abuser Alsu Ivanchenko didn’t apologize for badly injuring her defenseless pup.
In a St. George courtroom packed with animal-rights activists, Ivanchenko declined to make a statement Monday before a justice sentenced her to a year in jail for seriously harming and abandoning her tiny pet last year.
“Say you’re sorry,” one activist whispered out of the defendant’s earshot when state Supreme Court Justice William E. Garnett asked the Bay Terrace resident if she wished to say anything before he imposed sentence.
However, the ponytailed defendant, garbed in a fuscia-colored bubble jacket, gray scarf, gray sweatpants and white sneakers, shook her head and said, “No.”
Garnett, who convicted Ivanchenko two months ago at a bench trial, said the defendant “intentionally caused serious physical injury to the animal in an especially callous, depraved and sadistic manner.”
Besides jail time, Garnett forbade her from owning an animal for 15 years and ordered her to pay $21,795 in restitution to the ASPCA for the injured dog’s medical care.
She must also register with authorities under the city’s Animal Abuse Registration Act, which, prosecutors believe, is a first under the law, passed last year.
Ivanchenko displayed no visible emotion when Garnett imposed sentence or when court officers handcuffed her behind her back before leading her to a holding cell.
Her lawyer, Matthew Myers, said she’ll appeal.
“I think the sentence for a first-time offender was a bit harsh,” Myers said outside court. “The evidence is sketchy at best as to how the dog got into that condition. I think there was a certain pressure from the community” to impose a jail sentence.
At a hearing last month, Myers argued for a non-jail sentence of probation and 500 hours of community service.
Assistant District Attorneys Jane Grinberg and Adam Silberlight had recommended the maximum sentence – two years in prison – along with nearly $35,000 in restitution to the ASPCA for the injured dog’s medical care and a lifetime companion-animal ban.
Grinberg said Monday the ASPCA’s medical costs had been recalculated to $21,795.
Prosecutors and animal-rights activists hailed the sentence.
“Up until the moment Judge Garnett rendered the sentence, the defendant continued to show a lack of remorse for the extreme physical pain and suffering she caused this defenseless dog,” said Acting District Attorney Daniel Master in a statement. “The sentence handed down … justly punishes the defendant for her cruel and sadistic crime, which was carried out against a voiceless victim.”
“Pets are a part of civilized society and, under our laws, are entitled to live free of abuse,” Master said.
Outside court, activist Marissa Arciprete of Huguenot said, “We’re so excited. We couldn’t be happier. We’re hoping this sets a precedent for animal abusers. Justice was served.”
In September, Garnett convicted Ivanchenko of a felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals and two misdemeanor counts: Animal abandonment, and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals.
The defendant did not testify.
Prosecutors said Ivanchenko beat her 1.1-pound Maltese-Shih Tzu mix on Sept. 12 of last year and discarded the badly injured pup in a bag by the train tracks in Bay Terrace near her home.
Prosecutors said Ivanchenko abandoned the animal because she couldn’t afford its medical care.
The little dog, named Snowflake, had been diagnosed with a broken leg, lethargy and abdomen tenderness during a veterinary exam early on the afternoon of Sept. 12, 2014.
Good Samaritans found the 3-months-old animal later that night, and rushed her to the hospital for treatment.
The dog had suffered skull fractures, head trauma, bruising and eye issues from blunt-force trauma that occurred sometime after the initial veterinary exam, an ASPCA veterinarian testified at trial.
The defense contended there was no direct evidence or witness testimony to show Ivanchenko had inflicted those injuries, as prosecutors alleged.
While her injuries were initially considered life-threatening, the pooch managed to mainly recover from them.
Despite lingering health issues, the little dog was later adopted and renamed “Pip” by her new owner, said the ASPCA.
In May, Ivanchenko rejected a plea offer in which she would have been sentenced to six months in jail and five years’ probation and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in restitution in exchange for a felony animal-cruelty plea.
[Source Story: HumansLovingAnimals ]