Two Astoria men face music for dog-related crimes

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A man pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment last Thursday for throwing his Chinese Shar-pei, Brooklyn, out the window of his third-story Astoria apartment in September, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Milan Rysa, of 30-59 Steinway St. in Astoria, faces up to a year in prison for his crime, the DA said.

Another neighborhood resident, Jeffrey Cofield, who ordered his pit bull to bite a police officer in 2010 was sentenced to 12 years to life in prison last week, the DA said.

Cofield, of 28th Avenue and 14th Street, received his sentence from Queens Supreme Court Justice John Latella March 14, the DA said. Latella had presided over Cofield’s three-day, non-jury trial in February in which Cofield acted as his own defense, the DA said.

Cofield had previously pleaded guilty to three felonies in the 1990s, according to court records.

“Given the violent nature of the attack, and the fact that the defendant is a persistent felony offender, the lengthy sentence meted out by the court is more than justified,” DA Richard Brown said in a statement.

Officers learned about Rysa killing his dog when they found the Shar-pei dead in front of his apartment the night of Sept. 12. He was brought to Elmhurst Hospital Center afterwards for evaluation.

Rysa’s senseless act drew protests from an animal rights group BSL News. City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) praised the imminent punishment for Rysa on his Facebook page.

“[N]ice job, DA Brown,” Vallone said, “and thank you all for your support — it sent a clear message.”

Rysa’s sentencing is set for April 18, the DA said.

The incident which put Cofield behind bars occurred Aug. 2, 2010, the DA said. NYPD narcotics officers had been chasing another, unidentified person who was not caught, into Cofield’s apartment, the DA said.

Cofield was inside the apartment holding on to the collar of a pitbull, the DA said. When NYPD Sgt. Craig Kearney came into Cofield’s apartment, Cofield released the dog, the DA said.

“Get him,” Cofield ordered the dog, according to the DA.

The pitbull then attacked Kearney, running toward him and biting his face, the DA said.

“The defendant used his pit bull as a four-legged weapon to attack a police officer,” Brown said. “The case once again underscores the serious and dangerous nature of police work and the sacrifices that our police officers make in serving and protecting our city.”

Kearney received puncture wounds on his cheek and jaw, the DA said. Cofield took the pit bull off the officer and put the dog in a bathroom before Kearney was taken to a local hospital, the DA said.

Cofield had pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon in April 1990 and two counts of criminal possession of a loaded firearm in June 1999.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 6:55 pm, March 21, 2012
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