MASSAPEQUA, New York (WABC) -- A man was arrested Sunday after allegedly abusing dogs at the dog day care facility he worked for in Nassau County.
Andrew Laurendi, 21, was terminated from his employment at Pawllywood Dog Day Care, Boarding and Grooming in Massapequa, following the incidents.
Laurendi can be seen on video swinging multiple small dogs by their leashes - over his head like a lasso - and releasing them, causing the dogs to fly down the hallway, some hitting their heads, police say. Laurendi is also accused of smashing a dog's face into a fence, and police say the dog suffered serious injury.
"This case is a classic precursor to other violent crime. This is how people start. Jeffrey Dahmer started on animals. The Columbine shooters started on animals. Almost every one of our mass murderers started on animals. You start, you deaden your senses, and you move on from small animals to large animals, eventually to humans... It's disturbing for the community. It's below our community standards," said Gary Rogers with Nassau County SPCA. "In our country, we are judged on how we treat animals."
The owner of Pawllywood is the one who first saw the abuse on surveillance video and reported their own employee, police say. Laurendi worked at Pawllywood for six months, but police say he was fired as soon as the owner saw the video.
Investigators have not released video of the alleged incidents, but they say the footage shows one of the most disturbing abuse cases they have ever seen.
Pawllywood said they were "sickened and heartbroken" by what happened and the safety and wellbeing of animals in their facility is their number one priority. They said they conduct background checks and all employees are required to complete rigorous ongoing training.
Laurendi surrendered to Nassau County police Sunday night was charged with animal cruelty and torturing or injuring an animal/failure to provide sustenance. Police allege that Laurendi also deprived the dogs of food and water.
He is due back in court on December 21.
Nassau County Police, the District's Attorney's office and the detectives from the SPCA are all investigating this incident. They say they are concerned this was not the first time.
Laurendi has two dogs of his own who investigators worry might also have been subject to abuse.