Orange County News
For Immediate Release Contact: Christopher Borek
April 5, 2018 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
District Attorney Hoovler Announces Indictment in Animal Abuse Case
Defendant Charged with Setting Cats on Fire
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Thursday, April 5, 2018, Dee Jay Atkins, 55, of Newburgh, was arraigned before Orange County Court Judge William DeProspo, on an indictment charging him with two counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and one count of Bail Jumping in the Second Degree, all of which are felonies. It is alleged that on August 6, 2017, Atkins doused a cat and a kitten, who were in a cage, with lighter fluid and set them on fire, killing them. The cats did not belong to Atkins. The indictment also alleges that Atkins failed to make a court appearance in the Newburgh City Court in connection with the case. Bail was set in County Court in the amount of $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond, and the case is next scheduled for June 7, 2018.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the City of Newburgh Police Department for their investigation and the initial arrest of Atkins, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for the arrest of Atkins after he failed to appear in court.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Maryellen Albanese
“Killing a caged animal by setting it on fire is an unfathomable act of wanton cruelty,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “Anyone who would engage is such conduct deserves severe punishment. I commend the City of Newburgh Police Department for their investigation of this case. My office will continue to seek felony convictions and meaningful incarceration on cases involving aggravated cruelty to animals.”
A criminal charge is merely an allegation by the police that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.