Couple charged with child, animal abuse

Authorities remove baby pitbulls from the Richmond Hill home. Photo by Robert Stridiron
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A Richmond Hill couple were arrested for allegedly endangering their children and pets following an alleged violent domestic dispute Sunday, police said.

Paramedics initially responded to a report of a female being bitten by a dog at an apartment in a dilapidated three-story, split-level building on 125th Street, an NYPD spokeswoman said Monday. Once there the emergency responders witnessed the man physically assault the woman, she said.

When police stepped in at about 10 a.m., they saw the filthy conditions in which Jasean and Madalina Holmesand their four children were living, the spokeswoman said.

They also found five adult pitbulls and 10 pitbull puppies, some of which may have displayed signs of abuse, police said.

The children, who range in age from 5 to 11, were brought to Jamaica Hospital for evaluation and were then placed in temporary custody of the city Administration for Children’s Services, according to police. The pets are being cared for by Animal Care and Control.

Jasean Holmes, 29, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, torture to animals, failure to provide proper sustenance, harassment, endangering the welfare of a child and assault, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Queens district attorney.

Madalina Holmes, 28, was charged with torture to animals, failure to provide sustenance and endangering the welfare of a child, according to a second criminal complaint.

Police could not confirm whether there were any other animals present in the three-bedroom home, but the New York Post reported Sunday that there were two boa constrictors and a lizard also removed from the apartment.

According to the first complaint, the responding police officer said the apartment was littered with liquor bottles, knives and feces. He also saw what appeared to be blood on the counter tops and floor and noted that there were no mattresses on the beds in the apartment.

The officer said he could not find any dog food at the apartment and that the refrigerator was devoid of any food, according to the complaint.

Jasean Holmes allegedly told the officer that he only missed a day of cleaning and that it was his wife’s turn to clean, the complaint said.

On Monday, the building’s landlord, who declined to give his name, said he had been aware of snakes in the house before, although he never gave permission for any of the pets to be on the premises, he said.

The building owner said the family has lived in the apartment for three or four years. He had once tried to evict the family, but had not completed the process to do so, he said.

The couple owes him several thousand dollars for past due rent, damages to the apartment and other charges, he said.

He said he was unaware of the incident until another tenant called to tell him it was on the news.

The landlord emphasized that he is “an innocent bystander.”

“I’m a victim,” he said. “I’m not a predator.”

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 12:36 am, October 18, 2013
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