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Montauk Man Avoids Jail Time on Animal Cruelty Charge

Daniel L. Vargas will serve community service and get probation.

, who was arrested after police said he dropkicked and beat his boxer puppy in June, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty on Thursday.

In a plea arrangement, Vargas will not serve time in prison. His Sag Harbor attorney, , confirmed that Lisa R. Rana has agreed to sentence him to 280 hours of community service and three years of probation.

According to Newsday, prosecutors have also requested Vargas not be allowed to own a dog.

Vargas, 26, admitted to kicking his 6-month-old dog, named James, at in Montauk, where he both lived and worked. However, Grossman said the dog was not injured and was even playing with Vargas when police arrived later.

A witness, who allegedly observed the beating, had called , which in turn brought in the Suffolk County SPCA. The incident was captured on video surveillance.

He was initially charged with felony animal cruelty, and faced up to two years in prison. He was . Two months later, in August . At the time, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's office said a veterinarian’s report that came back since the initial charge was levied revealed no serious injury to the dog. He said it was the necessary component to maintain the charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, Clifford said.

But the deal agreed to in justice court on Thursday is a far cry from the six months of prison time the Suffolk County District Attorney's office had sought on the new misdemeanor charge, according Grossman. "What kind of society is it where you get six months for hitting a dog?," he said.

Grossman said his client was good man who had "lost it for a moment."

James has since been adopted after being taken into custody by the SPCA.

Vargas will begin working on his community service before being sentenced on March 15.

Stendantz January 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Outrageous that he gets off this easy! and Grossman's appalling statement "What kind of society is it where you get six months for hitting a dog?"... perhaps that would be a good society. And to you Grossman, he didn't hit the dog, he kicked the sh*t out of it. He'd probably do it to an unprotected child that won't stop crying. It usually starts with violence to animals.
Pamela Viscuso-Taber January 28, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Just truly surprised that that is all one gets for hurting an animal! Animals are there to love you and how anyone could want to hurt an animal is just baffling to me! Hitting a dog vs beating and drop kicking are two totally different aspects!!! I agree Stendantz what if it were a child!
Linda Williams January 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Maybe someone should do the same to Daniel L. Vargas, and lets see if they avoid jail time. I think not
durell godfrey January 28, 2012 at 01:58 PM
a guy who hurts an animal in that way is trying to prove his manhood- something he with which he is clearly having a problem.
PJ Delia January 28, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Seems there are two men here who have screwed up values. Grossman and Vargas.
PJ Delia January 28, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Is this the same attorney that is running for Judge? Grossman, who thinks it's okay to drop kick a helpless puppy?
Debra Brodie Foster January 28, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I am most concerned that the drop- kicker has not been required to attend anger management and counseling sessions in order to understand and practice other ways to deal with his rage. Steve must know that this type of extreme acting out, especially on a weaker victim, is a blatant sign of potential future abuse on children or women. Even a " good man" can have a history of abuse on him when he was younger or could already be abusing someone else. I am hard pressed to believe he was just having a bad day. As a teacher for 34 years, I have seen children who are loving and play with their Dad and then have it revealed to me that Dad would lock him out of the house at night if he was bad and beat the bottom of his feet with a club. The child was 9 and, by the way, dad was a good man in the community.
Sharon Rafferty January 28, 2012 at 10:24 PM
community service !!!!!!!!! i guess crime does pay
geraldine January 29, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Stephen Gross says "what kind of society is it where you get six months for hitting a dog?". What country and age does he live in? And he is running for judge?
Peconic Sunset January 29, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Mr. Vargas demonstrated a dangerous anger response. The sentence should have included anger management. As noted by others, if you think its just a dog, think again. Violence toward animals is often followed by violence toward humans. This is not a shining moment for Justice Rana as the sentence seems off the mark nor for Mr Grossman, whose comment implies a tolerance for violence that is not appreciated.
Peconic Sunset January 29, 2012 at 07:56 PM
What happened to the dog?
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) January 29, 2012 at 11:55 PM
James has since been adopted after being taken into custody by the SPCA.
Jimmy Ccini January 30, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Does this Vargas kid have money?
Janice Payne January 30, 2012 at 03:33 PM
I totally agree!
Jaguar-Guy January 31, 2012 at 12:59 PM
That is a terrible thing of Grossman to say in defense of this cruel s.o.b. Then, like a fool, he goes on to attack the Judge for the plea HE entered into on behalf of his client?? If Grossman didn't like the deal, he shouldn't have taken it, or recommended his client accept it, and Grossman should have stepped up and defended it. Nice words Peconic Sunset - well written.
Chris DeLuca January 31, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I agree! He didn't "hit" a dog! Perhaps HE should be taken out back and "drop kicked" a few times.... let him see how the dog felt. Stories like this make me SICK! And then to find out he will not even be punished.... disgusting!
tm January 31, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I have no sympathy for this guy, and he is a P.O.S. for what he did. That being said, some of these comments are over the top. The dog wasnt injured. The guy worked in a deli, so i assume he doesnt have money to 'buy" a favorable plea. And lastly, he hasnt been charged with abusing children. So, with all due respect Ms. Foster, as a former elected official, you be ashamed of your post equating his actions of kicking his dog (that resaulted in no injuries) with a person you know who abused their child. I know an elected official who abused his position, does that mean i can hold you accountable for his actions? WAIT, nevermind. you of all people may not want to answer that question.
Peconic Sunset January 31, 2012 at 05:11 PM
"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being." Abraham Lincoln
PJ Delia January 31, 2012 at 06:28 PM
tm Grossman is the only one who said the dog was not injured. The vet said, injured but not seriously. And kicking a dog around a parking lot is sick to those of us who aren't sick in the head. Equating those who abuse helpless animals with those who should not be trusted with children is simple common sense.
tm January 31, 2012 at 06:51 PM
PJ - I am not excusing his behavior. As a dog owner (and human) i found it repugnant. My point is that a number of commentors, most notably, former councilwoman foster, are equating this man to individuals known to have seriously abused their children. Im sorry, but such comments are, in my opinion, over the top.
Debra Brodie Foster January 31, 2012 at 07:17 PM
TM, my point was that Mr. Vargas should have received anger management and counseling sessions. My other comment was to refute Mr. Grossman's glib reply that " he is a nice guy". Nice guy ( generally speaking) does not mean someone is not capable of abuse. I was talking in generic terms. I sincerely hope Daniel has learned an important lesson.
Peconic Sunset February 01, 2012 at 02:44 AM
TM, the comments might make more sense in the context of the research and literature on the subject. Maybe a google search...
tm February 01, 2012 at 02:33 PM
no need for a google search. It wasnt a case of not understanding the comments.
Marianne March 30, 2013 at 08:44 PM
We need to get new people for the spca and get rid of Grossman. Also need to get rid of these judges that let most criminals off with a slap on the wrist.

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