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Man who beat puppy remains jailed

A puppy that police say was nearly beaten to death earlier this year is spending the holidays in Cheektowaga with her new adopted family.

Her former owner is spending them in jail.

Chester D. Harris, 49, of Townsend Place, was charged July 29 with using a table leg to nearly beat the white pointer mix to death. He allegedly told city police he was "tired of cleaning up after the puppy and having her tear things up."

Harris chose to represent himself in City Court and wasn't able to muster the $2,000 cash bail or $4,000 bond Judge Robert P. Merino imposed after Harris was arrested.

Harris tried to have the bail reduced to $100 and asked for the court to release him on his own recognizance, to no avail. A public defender was assigned the case earlier this month and convinced Chief City Judge Mark A. Violante last week to lower bail to $500.

That apparently still is too much for Harris, who has spent the last 21 weeks in jail and remained there Christmas day.

His six-month-old former puppy is doing much better than that -- not that things have been easy, said Niagara County SPCA Director John Faso.

The puppy has a new name, Daisy, given to her by Faso's daughter.

Daisy has spent the past few months recovering from $7,000 worth of surgery to repair injuries that included a shattered left leg and shoulder, Faso said.

She spent nine weeks confined to a cage as she recovered.

"Pointer puppies and crates don't mix," Faso said. "It was torture for her."

As she continues to recover, Daisy has found a new home in Cheektowaga with Paul and Priscilla Zabowski, an arrangement Faso called "a perfect match."

They were among more than 30 people who offered to take care of the dog when news spread about her injuries. Daisy has been living with the Zabowskis since last month.

The SPCA was able to raise $15,000 for a "Daisy Fund" designed to help pay for the puppy's surgery and recovery.

The SPCA will use the additional funds to help to prosecute animal cruelty cases.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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