A veterinarian at a Bronx animal hospital is facing several charges after police found bags filled with the bodies of dead animals along a Westchester highway.
Westchester County police said 66-year-old Andrew Manesis of Animal Clinic & Surgery Of Throggs Necks PC bagged at least 35 dead pets and tossed their bodies into the woods off the Hutchinson River Parkway. This after police said he told owners their animals would be cremated or buried in an area designated for pet remains.
Department of Transportation workers made the grim discovery on April 5 while they were cutting grass in dense brush. Most of the remains were decomposed, police said.
Manesis, a resident of New Canaan, Conn., was charged Friday with two counts of petit larceny, scheme to defraud and violation of environmental conservation law.
Police tracked him down using a bar code from a shoe box containing the body of a cat. Officers subpenaed the shoe company to obtain the name of the person who made the purchase. That customer turned out to be the owner of the cat, who told police she put the animal in the box after it died of natural causes and brought it to Dr. Manesis for a "group cremation."
Manesis's mug shot
A photo of a smiling Manesis appears on the website for the animal clinic, along with a pledge: "At Animal Clinic & Surgery Of Throggs Necks PC, we understand that your pet is more than just an animal – your pet is a part of your family and we are committed to providing them the quality care they deserve and you expect."
Calls to the clinic went unanswered Tuesday.
Pet owners paid the animal clinic as much as $315 to euthanize and/or properly dispose of their pet's remains. Instead, he dumped the bodies of cats, dogs and a lizard, on the side of the road, a spokesman for Westchester County Police said.
"Most of the detectives that worked on this case are pet owners themselves so they understood that any pet has a special place in their family and that these animals and owners deserved better that what we found under the circumstance," Westchester Public Information Officer Kieran O’Leary told Metro.
Police are still trying to track down some of the owners of the pets that were found. Anyone who asked Animal Clinic & Surgery Of Throggs Necks PC to euthanize or dispose of an animal, can call Westchester County detectives at 1-877-220-3560.
More photos of the animals below. [Warning, they are mildly graphic.]