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Jun 9, 2011 5:39 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Montauk Man Charged With Drop-Kicking. Hitting Puppy

Jun 14, 2011 5:54 PM

A Montauk man was arrested last Wednesday, accused of drop-kicking and beating his six-month-old puppy, according to the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Daniel L. Vargas, 26, was arrested by SPCA officers after he was caught by a surveillance camera beating the pure-bred treeing cur puppy in the boatyard at Uihlein’s Marina, according to Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross.

Mr. Vargas was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony that carries a sentence of up to two years in prison, Mr. Gross said. Mr. Vargas was released from jail after posting $10,000 cash bail sometime after his arraignment last Thursday, June 9.

“You’d better think twice before you even think of hurting an animal,” Mr. Gross said. “You’d better think twice. Take a deep breath, do whatever you’ve got to do. We do not take this lightly.”

The puppy was examined by Dr. Paul Hollander of the East Hampton Vet Group and, according to Mr. Gross, was found to have no broken bones or other serious injuries. Mr. Vargas relinquished ownership of the puppy to the SPCA, and it will be offered for adoption at some point, Mr. Gross said.

People interested in adopting the puppy, which is named James, can call the SPCA at 382-7722. Authorities initially thought the puppy was a boxer before it was identified as a treeing cur, a similar, medium-sized breed.

Mr. Vargas, a resident of West Lake Drive, admitted to authorities that he beat James after the puppy escaped from his yard at about 9 a.m., while Mr. Vargas was shaving, according to Mr. Gross.

A surveillance camera at Uihlein’s Marina captured Mr. Vargas picking up the puppy and kicking it “like a football” across the boatyard, sending it underneath a small boat, according to a report by an East Hampton Police officer who viewed the footage. Mr. Vargas then threw an unknown object at the puppy and dragged it out from under the boat by its legs, struck the puppy’s head against the concrete several times and hit it with his hand, according to the report.

A worker at the boatyard yelled at Mr. Vargas to stop, which he did, according to the report.

Someone working there flagged down the officer while he was on patrol, reported the incident and showed him the footage, the report states. East Hampton Town Police contacted the SPCA, which sent officers to Montauk to investigate and assist in the arrest that evening.

The police report quotes Mr. Vargas as saying, “Yeah, I beat the dog, but not enough to kill it,” “Yeah, I took it too far,” 
and, “Yeah, that’s me in the video.”

Mr. Vargas could not be reached for comment. East Hampton Town Justice Court officials did not answer emails requesting the name of Mr. Vargas’s attorney.

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Execution by stoning is too good for the two-legged cur!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 9, 11 6:17 PM
2 members liked this comment
Thank the heavens that some good soul took the time to get involved and call the police.
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Jun 9, 11 7:38 PM
These types of people are the lowest of the low. I hope for your sake, Mr. Vargus, we never meet.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jun 9, 11 9:25 PM
Thank you to the witness. There should be more people like you! My husband would have beat Mr Vargus taken the puppy & then been arrested himself!
By disappointed (96), wainscott on Jun 10, 11 6:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
It's so simple, just don't get a dog then! Idiots... Kudos to those who did the right thing! And Disappointed - Great comment, unfortunately as necessary as street justice is in this world, that is the truth...
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on Jun 10, 11 10:42 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Talbot77 (53), southampton on Jun 10, 11 11:10 AM
It is unbelievable, in this day & age, that there are still morons who think abusing a poor defenseless animal is acceptable behavior. Now we know why this poor little pup tried to escape. He obviously had more brains than his former owner. Many thanks to the witness, Mr. Gross & the police for getting involved. Now let's hope the courts do their job.
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Jun 10, 11 11:25 AM
2 members liked this comment
its a rare exception when a mass murderer doesn't start out beating animals. this guy should be kept under close watch for the rest of his days.
By kaluss (113), Southampton on Jun 10, 11 12:36 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By YesYesBub (58), East Hampton on Jun 10, 11 1:29 PM

Dude have not seen you in a while.

Can you copy and paste that? I missed it...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 10, 11 9:34 PM
OK, and now for my two cents.

Who likes Olde English?

Seriously though, this is a BABY. An eyes wide open wonder to the world. And you discipline it like it was the Mafia? No insult intended.

Jun 13, 11 9:36 PM appended by Mr. Z
To the mafia, that is...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 10, 11 9:36 PM
The witness who reported this should be proud of themselves !! Nice Job !! Now this POS will hopefully pay for his stupidity...
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Jun 11, 11 10:07 AM
By karyn (7), East Hampton on Jun 12, 11 9:04 AM
I have a feeling someone will FONZSKE!
By fritzdaddy (35), southampton on Jun 12, 11 9:37 PM