A Bronx veterinarian has been busted for dumping 35 dead pets along the Hutchinson River Parkway in Westchester County.
Andrew Manesis of Animal Clinic & Surgery of Throggs Neck was arrested by Westchester County police following an investigation that began April 5 when the remains of 26 dogs, eight dogs and a lizard were discovered in dense brush roughly 10 feet from the Hutch in Harrison, N.Y.
"It appears he simply pulled off...and tossed the animal carcasses into the woods," said George Longworth, Westchester public safety commissioner.
The pets were wrapped in garbage bags and lobbed into the brush on several occasions from March 2011 to April 2012, cops said. Many decomposed before they were recovered.
Police used evidence collected at the scene to identify two pet owners and link the remains to Manesis, 66, of New Canaan, Conn. The owners paid the vet $100 to $300 to dispose of their pets in a dignified manner.
Ernest Lungaro, director of humane law enforcement at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Westchester, called the crime "very disturbing."
"People put their trust in their veterinarians - and [Manesis\] betrayed that trust," he said.
Lungaro said a road crew found the pets, including a cat in a shoebox with a legible bar code.
Detectives traced the box to a Las Vegas seller and obtained the identity of the buyer, a grieving cat lover from the Bronx who paid Manesis to cremate her pet.
Police later tracked down a second owner and are looking for more victims to come forward.
Necropsies revealed that some of the pets were put to sleep and others died from natural causes.
Animal Clinic & Surgery of Throggs Neck, located on E. Tremont Ave., was closed Tuesday and Manesis didn't respond to requests for comment.
He was charged in Harrison Town Court with fraud, violation of environmental conservation law and two counts of petit larceny - all misdemeanors.
The clinic opened in 1981, according to its website.
Local pet owners out shopping Tuesday on E. Tremont Ave. said the vet has a poor reputation.
Michael DiMaggio, 57, said he went to the clinic only once, 15 years ago. Manesis conducted costly tests that failed to save his cat, he said.
"I never liked him," DiMaggio said. "He never showed any compassion toward the animals.
"I was very attached to the cat. He saw I was very distressed and he took advantage of me…The bill was close to $1,000."
Potential victims are encouraged to call the Westchester detectives at (877) 220-3560.