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Man charged with aggravated cruelty over injuries to grandmother's lap dog

A Wheatfield man has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty after Niagara County authorities say he slammed his grandmother's lap dog to the floor so hard that it fractured the dog's pelvis.

Jason E. Evrard, 27, of Walmore Road, pleaded not guilty to the charge Tuesday night before Wheatfield Town Justice John J. Mattio.

Evrard last week removed the nearly 8-year-old Lhasa Apso, named Abby, from his grandmother's lap and threw it to the floor as hard as he could, according to authorities.

The grandmother turned to the SPCA of Niagara for help when she could not afford veterinarian bills. She has surrendered the injured animal.

"I don't understand how someone can abuse an animal like that," said Aaron D. Kandefer, the peace officer for the SPCA of Niagara, who brought the charges against Evrard. "I don't understand the thought process."

Kandefer said the dog came into a room last Thursday after a door was left open and then got too friendly with one of Evrard's cat's two-week-old kittens. The dog played too roughly and killed the kitten, he said.

"[Evrard] was in a fit of rage and took it out on the animal," Kandefer said. "Clearly the dog did not mean to kill the kitten. The dog had been with the mother cat forever, but was probably just playing too rough [with the kitten]."

Kandefer said Evrard threatened the dog as his grandmother held it.

"How would you like it if I broke your dog's neck?" Evrard reportedly asked his grandmother.

He then picked up the dog and slammed it down, authorities said.

The grandmother, who is in her 70s, consulted a number of vets that night, but due to costs, was forced to surrender the dog to the SPCA of Niagara for treatment the following day, Kandefer said.

The dog will be put on full rest in an attempt to heal its broken pelvis, Kandefer said. He said that if the dog does not heal, it will need surgery.

"She is such a happy dog who loves to see people, but every time she tries to move, she screams out in pain," Kandefer said. "Even with narcotics and pain control, it is still very painful."

In a previous incident, Evrard was charged with second-degree assault Sept. 5 following a verbal confrontation that escalated into a fight.