By Janee Law
Melissa Buchanan is facing animal cruelty charges after allegedly abandoning six pets, including a dog that died.
A South Huntington woman was arrested Thursday on animal abuse charges for allegedly abandoning six pets in her apartment, including a dog that died.
The landlord of the Beverly Road home called police at 9:10 p.m. after hearing excessive barking coming from the apartment and realizing that she had not seen her tenant, Melissa Buchanan, for a few days, police said.
When Second Squad Detectives and the Suffolk County SPCA arrived at the scene, Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross said a miniature Australian shepherd dog was found dead in a cage.
The remaining live animals found at the scene were a cat, a longhaired Chihuahua mix dog, an albino boa constrictor, and two leopard geckos, Gross said.
Police said Buchanan, 27, returned while officers were at the scene and admitted that she had not been home for several days.
“Leaving an animal for more than 12 hours is illegal,” Gross said, adding that Buchanan was gone for more than two days.
Detectives charged Buchanan, with six counts of animal cruelty under New York State Agricultural Law.
Gross said the surviving dog and cat were taken to The Town of Huntington Animal Control on Friday for examination and the reptiles were sent to Long Island Game Farm in Manorville.
“People need to take this serious,” Jerry Mosca, director of the Huntington Animal Shelter, said on Monday. “If you don’t take care of your pets, you’re going to be arrested and you’re going to do time.”
Mosca added that the cat was taken to Grateful Paw Cat Shelter, which is operated by the League For Animal Protection in East Northport.
Since the investigation is still ongoing, the cat and dog are not up for adoption at this time.
Gross said that until a necropsy is finalized, he can only speculate that the dog died of starvation.
Buchanan was arraigned on April 29 and pleaded not guilty. Bail was set at $2,000 cash or $4,000 bond. Her next court date is scheduled on Tuesday, May 3.
She could face up to six years in jail if convicted.