Jeffrey Previte, the former CEO of a California-based environmental consulting firm, who was caught physically abusing his puppy at his condo in a video that was widely circulated on social media, has been charged with animal neglect.
Animal rights organizations, including PETA, and the online community called for Previte to be fired and charged with animal cruelty after the video showed him violently yanking his four-month-old puppy, named Beachy, in the hallway outside his Santa Monica residence in September.
In the clip, the 46-year-old ex-CEO could be seen violently yanking the dog off the floor by the scruff of its neck and jerking the whimpering canine through a door before striking it with the palm of his hand. The video footage of the incident was provided by a concierge who said he could hear the dog's cries from his desk and reported the alleged abuse.
Shortly after the video went viral, Previte was forced to step down as the CEO of EBI Consulting and apologized for his actions, saying he lost his temper and "took unreasonable and unjustifiable action." He said that the abusive video did not represent the time he spent with the dog before placing it with another family.
Previte Charged with Animal Neglect
At the time of the incident, the Santa Monica Police Department's Animal Services Unit had said it was investigating Previte "for a violation of Penal Code 597(a) â Animal Abuse" and and will present the case to the district attorney to consider animal cruelty charges.
After gathering all the necessary information including the online video, interviews with neighbors, acquaintances and other witnesses, the Santa Monica City Attorney's Office has now charged Previte with one count of animal neglect, a misdemeanor charge. If convicted of the charge, the former CEO could face up to six months in county jail and a maximum fine of $500.
In addition, PETA is pushing for a lifelong ban on Previte, permanently prohibiting him from keeping any animals in his care.
"PETA is pushing for a vigorous prosecution of this abuser, including a lifelong ban on keeping animals," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement. "We want everyone to remember Jeffrey Previte's name and face because no one with an ounce of respect for animals or love for a dog should ever give a cent of business to a man who shoots and kills animals for fun when he's not tormenting his dog at home."