Two brothers surrendered to the Nassau County Police Department this morning on indictment charges related to a January dog attack of a nine-year old boy in Westbury.
Cesar Cuellar, 27, of East Meadow, and Anthony Villalta, 19, of Westbury, were arraigned March 23 before Acting Supreme Court Justice Meryl Berkowitz on charges of second-degree reckless assault, third-degree reckless assault, third-degree negligent assault and second-degree reckless endangerment. The brothers were released on their own recognizance and are due back in court April 21. If convicted of the top charge, the men face up to two to seven years in prison.
“The victim’s injuries were so severe that he nearly died in this dog mauling incident,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “Thanks to the quick work of Nassau County Police Department, Good Samaritans and his brother, the victim is alive and recuperating.”
On Jan. 27, at approximately 3:10 p.m. on Sylvan Lane/Wilson Ave., in Westbury, a nine-year old boy was walking home from his school with his older brother when two dogs, a black and white pit bull mix named “Rocky,” and a tan mixed breed named “Tori,” ran down Wilson Avenue, without leashes or guardians, and allegedly attacked the victim.
Rocky allegedly bit and latched on to the victim’s leg near the knee, while the other dog was standing near, barking and biting at the victim’s brother. The victim and his brother tried for minutes to beat the dog off with their fists, legs, sticks, books, and anything they could find. Two passersby came and helped to get the dogs off of the victim and put him in a vehicle until emergency services arrived. The dogs ran away from the scene before the police arrived.
The victim suffered deep lacerations to his left leg, extensive muscle damage, tissue damage, bone exposure and blood loss, as well as bite wounds on his right leg and left arm. He was treated at a local hospital and underwent surgery to repair his leg.
The older brother was unharmed. The actions of the brother, the two Good Samaritans and arriving NCPD personnel helped in saving the victim’s life.
The dogs were later found at a nearby house where a neighbor had corralled them into his backyard. The dogs were taken by animal control to an undisclosed location.
Cuellar and Villalta were both allegedly custodians of the dogs at the time of the incident. The defendants were allegedly aware that the dogs that attacked the victim, and that Rocky had been involved in multiple prior attacks–including three prior attacks in the previous three months–two attacks on dogs and one human attack. Villalta allegedly let the dogs into the yard from where they got loose and had done so in the past.
Assistant District Attorneys Alexander Lev and Laura Sarowitz of DA Singas’ Animal Crimes Unit are prosecuting the case. Cuellar was represented at arraignment by Jeffrey Groder, Esq., while Villalta was represented by Patrick Kaufman, Esq.