Sunday 23 April, 2017
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Indian-American hotelier gets community service for torching dogs

Washington, April 19 (IANS) Indian-American hotelier Vikram Chatwal, who was found guilty of trying to torch two dogs has been ordered by a Manhattan judge to do five days of community service after he agreed to a plea deal.

Chatwal, the founder of the Dream Hotels, was found guilty for trying to burn a pair of Jack Russell terriers last year.

The 45-year-old hotelier pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors — aggravated animal cruelty and animal cruelty violation, the New York Post reported on Tuesday.

When Manhattan Judge Gerianne Abriano asked Chatwal whether he “attempted to cause serious physical injury to two dogs using an aerosol can and lighter to set fire to them”, Chatwal answered in the affirmative.

In addition to the five-day community service that he agreed to do, Chatwal also agreed to pay $1,000 in restitution to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which took care of the dogs that Chatwal tried to put on flame.

Chatwal’s lawyers said he suffers from bipolar disorder, reported the New York Post.

He was also asked to continue his mental-health treatment, submit to random drug testing and still live with his parents under the deal.

According to the ruling, if Chatwal complies with the terms and conditions, the misdemeanor charge of aggravated animal cruelty will be dropped in one year.

“We’re pleased that the DA’s office realised all of the mitigating factors and is offering this disposition,” Arthur Aidala, Chatwal’s attorney, said after the plea.

Assistant District Attorney Tanisha Palvia said that “given the defendant’s mental health history and lack of criminal history and minimal injury to the dogs, we are offering a no-jail deal”.

Chatwal was arrested by the police in October last year after he attacked two Jack Russell dogs on Wooster Street in Soho, Manhattan, near his condominium.

Isabell Suquilanda, the dog walker, filed a lawsuit against Chatwal citing that the incident deeply traumatised her.

Chatwal’s name also will be added to the animal abuse registry, and he is barred from owning or caring for a pet for five years.

He would appear in the court again on July 19.

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