A Nevada woman on her way to a Boston court to face drug trafficking charges has been charged with kicking and punching her Yorkshire terrier in a bathroom at South Station, MBTA Transit Police said Friday.
Ana Prado, 26, of Henderson, Nev., was arrested Thursday morning and now faces a felony charge of animal cruelty that carries a maximum of five years in prison.
Officer Preston Horton was on patrol in the commuter rail lobby at 7:45 a.m. Thursday when a witness told him that a woman was abusing a small dog inside the restroom.
“A concerned commuter came up to me and said that she saw a woman, who was changing her clothes and putting on makeup, abusing a dog,” Horton said. “She said she picked the dog up by the leash and was basically hanging the dog, then started slapping and punching the dog.”
The tiny dog, named Dolce, is a Yorkshire terrier and was wearing a pink-and-black-striped jacket, he said.
Horton called a female Transit Police officer, who was already en route to South Station, to help with the situation.
An MBTA employee left the women’s restroom and told Horton that she also saw the woman kick the dog, he said. The female officer arrived and escorted Prado out of the bathroom, Horton said.
Prado was placed in the back of a police cruiser, while Dolce got to ride shotgun, Horton said. “We put her [Prado] in the back of the wagon and the dog in front with the officers,” he said. “The dog seemed to be OK and jumped right into the officer’s lap.”
Prado was in Boston Thursday to appear in Suffolk Superior Court on a charge of drug trafficking. She had just arrived at Logan International Airport on a flight from Las Vegas and was changing her clothes in the South Station bathroom to look appropriate for court, Horton said. “She was actually getting ready to head over to court,” Horton said. “What she expected to do with the dog once she got to court, I have no idea. It’s very odd.”
Prado was booked at Transit Police headquarters Thursday on the cruelty charge and was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court, where she pleaded not guilty. A judge released Prado on personal recognizance but granted prosecutors’ request that the dog be surrendered to the Massachusetts Humane Society, said Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.
Prado’s arraignment on the drug trafficking charge was rescheduled for Friday. She pleaded not guilty to a charge of trafficking more than 200 grams of oxycodone, Wark said.
Prado had allegedly left behind two rubber gloves full of painkillers at the Logan Airport Hyatt on Sept. 14, Wark said.
The clerk magistrate continued Prado’s bail, which Prado had posted after a previous District Court appearance, at $20,000, ordering Prado to wear a GPS monitoring device and not to leave the state without the court’s permission, Wark said. Prado’s attorney, Joseph Keegan, declined to comment on the charges.
Horton said he had responded to other reports of animal cruelty during his 24 years as a police officer. He has been with the Transit Police for the past 14 years and he served with the Northampton police for 10 years prior to that. A year ago, Horton arrested a man who was observed beating a dog near the MBTA Dudley Station.
He said both incidents of animal cruelty highlighted the effectiveness of the MBTA’s “See Something? Say Something” campaign. “We want to be approachable,” Horton said. “Here’s a dog who’s totally helpless, and compassionate people saw it and brought it to our attention. That goes a long way.”
Despite her ordeal, Dolce is doing well, Horton said.Melissa Werthmann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.