SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – The 20-year-old son of a woman charged with beating her grandson to death has been arrested for allegedly beating his dog with a shovel.
The Schenectady County SPCA has arrested DC Dunkel, of 23 Mynderse Street, and charged him with aggravated animal cruelty.
On April 30th, the SPCA began investigating reports of a 2-year-old male pit bull named "Con" being beaten by Dunkel with a shovel which a witness, a neighbor of Dunkel's, claimed to have recorded on video. Another tip came in from the witness, who claimed to have recorded another beating on May 6th. Both recordings were reviewed by the District Attorney's office, but the second video led to the charges.
The dog is currently being held in SPCA foster care.
Dunkel spoke with NEWS CENTER on Thursday saying he is innocent. Dunkel claims he was not abusing the dog, rather disciplining him and that his neighbor is intrusive.
"I never hit my dog with a shovel and I hit him one time on the side of my house because he ripped the cable wires and he ate my brand new pool pump, a $200 pool pump. I didn't know it was illegal to hit your dog," said Dunkel.
"Repeated beating, any type of injury is certainly abuse and there's no manual where closed fist punching of a dog in the face or the torso or using a weapon like a shovel or kicking a dog in the stomach. None of those are discipline,” said Chief David Dean of the SPCA.
"I love that dog. I just adopted him three months ago, so when they picked him up there’s no sign of abuse. He was just at the vet two weeks ago,” said Dunkel. “Yeah, I hit my dog one time, so I don't know if that’s the definition of animal abuse, but I guess new laws say you're not allowed to hit your dog at all."
Gaston Hooks Jr. tells the NEWS CENTER he's the one who made that call after seeing what he described as a violent beating.
"He got out, jumped over the fence and started beating the dog. Beat the dog 3, 4 times on the ground,” said Hooks Jr.
He explained that he has surveillance cameras at his home, so he caught it all on camera. Just one week later, he tells the NEWS CENTER he saw it again and provided authorities with more video.
“You beat dogs, you're inclined to beat people, children,” said Hooks Jr.
Dunkel's mother, 43-year-old Gloria Nelligan currently faces charges of murder and manslaughter for allegedly beating her 8-year-old grandson Sha'hiim to death at the family's Mynderse Street home in February. According to police, Sha'hiim was killed after a "prolonged beating." Nelligan was the boy's legal guardian.
Since his mother's arrest, Dunkel has moved into the home and has assumed responsibility of his three younger sisters.