Felony charge added to dog owner who left Yorkie for dead

MIAMI (WSVN) - A dog owner accused of beating his Yorkie and leaving her for dead was given another felony charge, Friday, as animal lovers call for a change.

Forty-year-old Sigman Hernandez did not attend Friday’s arraignment where prosecutors announced the additional charge. “We’re charging Sigman Andre Hernandez with two counts of cruelty to animals,” said the prosecutor.

Suzy, a 4- or 5-year-old Yorkshire terrier, was left to die on Miami Beach, on April 7, by her owner, 40-year-old Sigman Hernandez.

Surveillance video helped police make an arrest. The footage captured a red Toyota Yaris pulling into a Publix parking garage, off West Avenue.

Hernandez is then seen getting out and apparently taking something out of his car, police said, before setting it on the ground. Detectives believe he was handling the Yorkie.

According to a police report, Hernandez “confessed to slapping and possibly choking his dog because she vomited in his car.”

Suzy was found by a Publix employee.

Dr. Joy Carter, the veterinarian who treated the animal, said she was in poor shape. “She had like seven fractured ribs, had indication that she had been strangled with some type of leash or collar or rope and then had pretty severe head trauma,” she said.

Suzy died two days later.

Hernandez refused to answer questions when he bonded out of jail. “I said no comment,” he said before walking away.

A group of volunteers with animal rescue groups rallied outside the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, Friday, demanding maximum prison time and no plea deals for animal abusers. “We want this to set an example that we’re not going to accept this anymore,” said Saving Sage Animal Rescue employee Regina Vlasek.

The protesters wore red and held the rally just before Hernandez was handed down another felony charge. “We’re all here wearing red to symbolize the blood that was shed by Sigman Hernandez of his dog, Suzy,” said animal activist Ana Campos. “At this point, I think we’ve all come together and decided we need stronger animal cruelty laws, and we need judges to impose harsher sentences.”

Hernandez has been charged with two felony counts of animal cruelty and a misdemeanor charge of abandonment. He has entered a written plea of not guilty.

His trial will begin on July 3. Members of the group who rallied Friday said they will also show up for the trial with even more people.

“We want to see justice served for Suzy,” said Campos.

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