Long Island Man Receives Four Month Jail Term for Beating Dog to Death

Posted on November 28, 2017

Animal Legal Defense Fund Urges Stronger Penalties for Animal Abusers 

Contact: Natalia Lima, nlima@aldf.org, 201 679 7088

Nassau County, NY – Today Michael Gallagher, a defendant charged with aggravated animal cruelty, was sentenced to just four months in county jail for killing his family dog, Bella, an 11-year-old Shepherd mix. Prosecutor Assistant District Attorney Sarah Nadeau-Balducci requested the maximum sentence available under animal cruelty statues—two years.

In addition to the jail sentence, Gallagher received 5 years of probation and is prohibited from owning an animal for 20 years.

In a September hearing, Gallagher pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals—a felony—before Acting Supreme Court Justice Teresa Corrigan.

Bella was adopted by the defendant’s family as a puppy from North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, New York. Bella lived with them for eleven years before she was killed on December 23, 2016. The defendant tightened a zip tie around her neck, stuffed her in a garbage bag, and struck her repeatedly with a metal shovel fracturing her skull. Witnesses intervened and stopped Gallagher from continuing to attack Bella, at which point he fled the scene. Despite being promptly taken to a veterinarian for treatment, Bella was euthanized due to the severity of her injuries.

“We’re grateful that the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office worked hard to prosecute the defendant to the fullest extent of the law,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “However, Bella’s story underscores how the New York cruelty statutes fail to sufficiently protect both people and animals. A maximum sentence of two years in jail isn’t adequate for the worst cases of animal cruelty.”

In the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s most recent ranking of animal protection laws of all 50 states, New York performed poorly, ranking in the bottom tier at 41, just above Alabama. New York’s abysmal ranking is primarily due to its outdated and misplaced animal cruelty laws. Crimes against animals are located in the Agriculture & Markets Law instead of the Penal Law section of the code with other crimes. Transferring the laws and strengthening criminal penalties would significantly improve New York’s rankings and better protect animals.

For more information visit, aldf.org.

Be a Partner in Protection!

Donate monthly to help animals.

or make a one-time gift »

ALDF's Online Store

Help fund our lifesaving work!


Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.

Join Us

Follow ALDF on these networks:

Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.