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Man charged with throwing pit bull Oreo from N.Y. building fails to appear at sentencing, faces jail time

December 3, 2009 |  7:45 pm

Oreo Fabian Henderson, the man accused of throwing his pit bull, Oreo, from a six-story Brooklyn, N.Y., building this past summer, faces up to four years in jail following his failure to attend his sentencing hearing earlier this week.

Henderson was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, criminal trespassing and "overdriving, torturing and injuring animals" in the incident, which left the dog with severe injuries that included multiple leg fractures, a broken rib, bruised lungs and internal bleeding, according to the Brooklyn district attorney's office.  He pleaded guilty to a felony charge in October.

The New York Daily News reported that Henderson's initial plea would have spared him jail time, although it would have barred him from owning a dog again.  However, there's now a warrant out for his arrest as a result of his decision to skip the sentencing.

"It's just another incidence of anti-social behavior," Joseph Pentangelo of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the organization that cared for Oreo while she recovered from her injuries and later felt the wrath of many in the animal-rescue community for its controversial decision to euthanize the dog because of  aggression issues, told the Daily News. "It's indicative of a person who has very little respect for the law."

Henderson's account of the events that led to Oreo's fall from the roof has changed over time; he initially admitted to throwing her from the building where he lived with family members. He later recanted, claiming that Oreo had jumped from the roof, before pleading guilty in New York State Supreme Court in October.  According to the Daily News, his mother expressed skepticism that her son could have committed the crime, describing Henderson as "basically a quiet person, good with animals."

Oreo was euthanized last month over the objections of a New York rescue group, Pets Alive, which offered to take her from the ASPCA and attempt to rehabilitate her.  Following the dog's death, Pets Alive supporters publicly called for the ouster of ASPCA president Ed Sayres, saying he "has demonstrated that he no longer has the capacity to act in the best interest of the animals in their care."

For his part, Sayres maintained that euthanasia was the most humane decision for Oreo, who exhibited aggression toward her human caregivers as well as other dogs. Even at a sanctuary like the one operated by Pets Alive, her "quality of life would have been reduced to virtually nothing," Sayres said, because her behavior problems would have necessitated almost complete isolation from humans and other animals.

RELATED:
ASPCA was right to euthanize Oreo, the pit bull that survived a six-story fall, says PETA

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Oreo in a Nov. 12 photo.  Credit: Stephen Chernin / Associated Press

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