An Oceanside man who appeared to abuse a dog at his training and boarding facility in a viral video released last year was arrested on April 20 and charged with aggravated harassment, police said, which involved sending threatening text messages, according to court documents.
The video, posted on Facebook on Dec. 9, showed Brian DeMartino, owner of NY Dog Works, on Louis Place, repeatedly jabbing a caged dog with a broom handle, and sparked national uproar on social media.
DeMartino was arraigned in Nassau County District Court on April 21 on the harassment charge before Judge Scott Siller, and was released on probation without bail, according to Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for the Nassau County district attorney’s office. A one-year order of protection was also issued, he added. DeMartino is due back in court on May 17.
According to the complaint, DeMartino sent text messages to an unidentified victim on April 5 that stated, “You have no idea what’s coming to you for what you have done. I will spend the rest of my life taking you down in ways that you could not imagine. Watch your back you disgusting piece of [expletive].”
DeMartino also told the victim on the phone, “...now I am going to kill you,” the complaint stated.
Oceanside resident and former NYPD detective Tommy Marrone, 43, who released the video showing the alleged abuse in December, said he received the text messages and that he was displeased with the judge’s decision.
“The guy threatened my family,” Marrone, a father of a 9- and 7-year-old, told the Herald, adding that he believed DeMartino was driving by his house. “…To release him without bail or anything is absurd to me.”
Mineola-based attorney Adrian Diluzio, who is representing DeMartino, said his client denied going to Marrone’s home. He added that it was unfortunate that DeMartino sent the text messages, and said that as a father of eight children himself, he understood why Marrone might be afraid.
Diluzio added that although he did not approve of DeMartino’s messages, their intent had not been determined. “I don’t think that Brian is the kind of guy that represents a general threat to the public, or a general threat to animals, or a general threat to his girlfriend, or a general threat to this potential witness in the animal case,” Diluzio said.
Shortly after the footage was released, DeMartino confirmed to the Herald in a Facebook message that he was in the video, but wrote that it “has all become so wildly inflated, and taken out of context.” He appeared in court on unrelated domestic violence charges on Dec. 12, and denied the animal abuse claims outside the courtroom to News 12.
Diluzio told the Herald on Monday that the video, given to Marrone by DeMartino’s girlfriend, was only a small portion of a three-part video on how to train a dog.
“I think that human beings do not do well generally by correction, because nowadays we’re all into, if [you] pet something, it makes it better,” Diluzio said. “That’s not what happens when you train a dog, and if you pet a dog when it’s engaging in misbehavior, it’ll reinforce its misbehavior, and therefore you have to use more strength and power. I think he was illustrating that.”
NY Dog Works, which DeMartino was operating out of his Oceanside home, claimed to use “a humane, positive and scientifically sound approach that makes it easy for you and your dog to succeed,” according to the business’s Facebook page. DeMartino offered boarding and training programs, some of which left dogs in his care for days or weeks at a time, according to customers.
Marrone had taken his 5-month-old German shepherd, Zeus, to NY Dog Works in June for two weeks, and said that when he picked him up, his pet appeared timid and was missing teeth. Marrone said the person who submitted the video to him in December — identified by Diluzio as DeMartino’s girlfriend — claimed to have seen Marrone’s dog being struck with a stick at the Oceanside facility.
After the video’s release, more than a dozen dog owners claimed that their pets were potential victims of DeMartino, and posted photos and stories of the physical and behavioral signs of abuse on Facebook.
The Oceanside business appeared to have been closed shortly after the video was released, though NY Dog Works’ social media page mentioned trying to open locations in other states.
According to Brosh, the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the district attorney’s office are still investigating the alleged abuse.
Diluzio said he didn’t believe the matter was of serious concern. “You wish you had a little camera that told you exactly what happened so you would know what judgment you should make, and could make and endorse in this situation,” he said. “I’m a little bit lost … and I’m praying that I’m right, because I don’t want to see anyone have bad things happen to them.”