MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - The Nassau County district attorney is calling a case of animal cruelty "unthinkable and horrific" as a young married couple are accused in the deaths of two puppies and near death of a third.
Police say 29-year-old Ellie Knoller and his wife, 30-year-old Jessica Kuncman Knoller, surrendered to the Nassau County authorities on Wednesday.
Ellie is accused of killing two puppies and nearly killing a third in less than three week, just days after adopting or buying the dogs.
District attorney Madeline Singas says the healthy puppies suffered catastrophic injuries.
Blunt force trauma caused the first puppy to die of internal bleeding.
Then very next day, the couple adopted a second puppy that shortly later also died from cardiac and respiratory arrest. The cause of death was again blunt force trauma causing internal bleeding
The very next week, a third puppy they adopted, a little Golden Doodle named Bella, was brought to a Westbury veterinarian with fractured ribs, bruising on her lungs, bleeding in her eyes and a broken leg.
She survived, but the couple is under arrest. He is charged with being a serial puppy killer. She is charged with doing nothing to help Bella, causing unjustifiable suffering.
Nassau County News Conference On Animal Cruelty Charges
"In my 28 years as a prosecutor, I've never seen a case where someone committed this kind of serial violence against different puppies," said Singas.
Defense attorneys say that the couple are normal dog lovers and would not have brought their sick dogs to a veterinarian if they wanted them to die.
"This has been an on-going investigation, they've known about this for the last two months," said Greg Madey, the defense attorney for Ellie Knoller. "They're horrible accusations, but just as bad to be charged with something like this.
"The way this started is they brought the dogs to the vet, this was something they were caring for," he said. "They brought them to the vet when there was a problem or they detected the animal was injured or sick, and once that happens, there's an investigation that's started. They're upset."
The couple was released without bail. After pleading not guilty, the judge forbade them from buying, keeping or caring for any animals while the case proceeds.
Due to the cost of Bella's medical care, the NCSPCA is seeking help from the public through their website, LuckyToBeAlive.NCSPCA.US.
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