A city man accused of killing two dogs and maiming a third over arguments with his wife pleaded guilty to three felonies Wednesday in Schenectady County Court.
Thomas Hendricks, 28, of Front Street, pleaded guilty to three counts of felony aggravated cruelty to animals, also known as Buster’s Law, before Judge Karen Drago. Drago will sentence him to two years in state prison on May 12.
Prosecutor Jessica Lorusso said Hendricks received the maximum sentence allowed under Buster’s Law, two years under each plea. “We held him accountable for some really inhumane actions,” she said.
Hendricks will serve his sentences concurrently. His plea also satisfies a charge of criminal contempt he faced. He was charged in early March with the felony after he called his wife from jail. She had an order of protection against him.
As part of the deal, the couple has to turn over a toy poodle named Carmella to the Schenectady County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Hendricks has to abide by a three-year stay-away order applying to animals. The order of protection for his wife was dropped, Lorusso said.
David Dean of the SPCA said the organization will try to place the poodle with an adoptive family. “We are excited to be on the receiving end of this animal that was in peril so long. We will look for a suitable home for adoption for this animal. We urge people to contact us if interested in adoption,” he said.
Inquires should be directed to 755-9517, Dean said. The society’s Web site is www.schenectadyspca.org.
Dean said the society, which helped city police investigate the case, is pleased with Hendricks’ sentence. “He got the maximum sentence. We believe it demonstrates a great partnership between the district attorney, the Schenectady Police Department and the SPCA. We want to make the point that people like Hendricks will face the same level of prosecution,” he said. “His sentencing makes the community safer for citizens and animals.”
Hendricks was arrested in January, accused of drowning and choking one dog to death in December, beating another to death with a pool cue in late January and scalding another severely on Jan. 12, police said.
The attacks on the dogs were all the result of Hendricks’ actions in response to arguments with his wife, police said.
The actions were all aimed at instilling fear in his wife, according to the Schenectady County SPCA.
Hendricks’ wife’s first dog, a long-haired dachshund named Beary, was killed sometime in the second week of December, she told investigators.
Hendricks held Beary with her nose and mouth directly under running water, all the while squeezing the dog to death, according to papers.
Beary’s remains were found in a back shed at 122 Front St.
Then on Jan. 12, Hendricks allegedly again attacked Carmella. Hendricks allegedly held the dog under scalding water, causing the dog to suffer severe burning to her legs and hind area.
Hendricks also allegedly pulled hair out of the dogs’ legs.
The third dog, another long-haired dachshund named Fudge, was beaten to death, police said. Hendricks allegedly hit it with a pool cue, snapping the stick in half in the process.