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Ambulance worker helps rescue puppy; Niagara Falls man charged with animal abuse

NIAGARA FALLS – A Rural/Metro ambulance employee Monday morning was in the house of a patient on 28th Street when she heard the yelps of a puppy.

Sarah Zimmerman and her partner rushed outside and saw, according to the Niagara County SPCA, Lee Jones, 23, of Niagara Falls, holding the puppy by the scruff of the neck and repeatedly hitting it on the head with a blunt object.

Zimmerman reported that Jones dropped the puppy to the ground and that the puppy ran to her and her partner.

Jones demanded that she return the puppy, but he ended up arrested and charged with aggravated animal cruelty by the Niagara Falls Police Department.

According to the Niagara County SPCA report, Jones has been arrested in the past for disorderly conduct and domestic abuse, and was also questioned in another suspected animal cruelty case.

Gladys, an 8-week-old puppy suffering with a broken jaw and severely swollen face, was found by two Modern Disposal employees in late April. Jones and his girlfriend admitted to owning Gladys, whose name was Brianna at the time. They told Niagara Falls police that they had sold the puppy several days before the incident and were not charged.

Neighbors told police Monday that they have heard the cries of the 6-week-old puppy, now dubbed Karma by the Niagara County SPCA, but were afraid to speak up.

“Karma is very sweet considering all that she has endured,” SPCA Executive Director Amy Lewis said in a news release to the media. “She does show some signs of physical abuse, including abrasions to her head and hind legs, and urine burns on her belly. She will be placed in foster care with Zimmerman, who has expressed interest in adopting her.”

Lewis praised Zimmerman and her partner for stepping forward and not just driving away as they could have so easily done.

“Thanks to Zimmerman, Karma will no longer have to endure that violence; she is safe and sound now and will have the home she deserves,” wrote Lewis.