The online outrage directed against Timothy Neff, who is facing felony animal cruelty charges in connection with the starvation of a pit bull mix named Precious, continues unabated.
He was arrested on June 29 by Niagara Falls city policeman Dave Bowers, an outdoorsman with a love of animals. In addition to being emaciated, the dog was also suffering with internal parasites and fleas.
The suspect told Bowers he had given the dog to some people in West Seneca four months ago and was recently contacted by a friend who said the dog was in poor condition. The friend then brought him the dog, he said.
Neff, who looks as though he hasn’t missed too many meals himself, advertises himself as a “home improvement handyman” and landscaper. The 20th Street resident is also reported to own rental property in Lockport.
In the wake of the online firestorm, Neff, 31, shut down his Facebook account, but not before a number of sharp eyed dog lovers managed to get his phone number from various internet advertisements. The number, 716-698-6075, was widely circulated, and many called to tell him what they thought about his treatment of animals.
They were answered with a glib voicemail message.
“Yes, I’m the guy who abused his dog,” it said. “Leave me a message.”
At least one humanitarian, Lisa Stewart-Graff, said she taped the message and made it available to authorities.
“Got his message on tape,” she posted. “Will go to SPCA tomorrow.”
In New York State, felony aggravated cruelty carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison, and more than 100 local Facebook commentators have called upon the criminal justice system to deliver all that and worse.
The posts were so fever pitched that Andrea Galyn, administrator of the popular Niagara Falls Uncensored web page, felt compelled to warn that further death threats directed against Neff would not be tolerated.
Many others, however, said they would adopt the dog and give her a permanent and loving home.
Two weeks ago, Jay Kenneth of Rochester Road in Royalton, who was charged in April with felony aggravated animal cruelty when a disturbing video surfaced of him beating his dog Spike appeared, plead guilty to attempted aggravated animal cruelty and was sentenced to 60 days of incarceration, placement on Niagara County’s Animal Abuse Registry and court fines. Ownership of Spike was awarded to the Niagara SPCA.