East New York

Remembering St. Vincent: Abused Brooklyn dog left a mark on those who knew him

April 8, 2019 Scott Enman
St. Vincent enjoys his new yard after recovering and being adopted by a loving family. Photo courtesy of NYBC
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Saint Vincent, the dog found in a trash bag in East New York with his mouth tied shut in December 2017, passed away in July surrounded by a loving family.

On that December night, a passerby noticed sounds and movement coming from a trash bag near Jackie Robinson Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue. The witness contacted police officers, who arrived promptly and cut the container open to find the wounded dog.

“My immediate reaction was disgust, and I was repulsed that a human being could do that to a dog,” Dr. Brett Levitzke, medical director of the Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group, told the Brooklyn Eagle directly after the incident. “I was astonished at the depth of cruelty.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the person who abused St. Vincent, but the culprit was never caught.

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While the cruelty the dog faced was reported on widely, the care he found afterward — and ultimately his death — did not receive the same attention. The Eagle reached out to those who rescued and tended to him to reflect on how they will commemorate the brave canine.

Levitzke, who treated St. Vincent after the horrific incident, said the dog would be remembered for his grace, kind heart and will to survive.

“St. Vincent was a sweet old soul and was a gentle giant,” he told the Eagle. “I am so very happy that his last days were filled with love.”

Dr. Brett Levitzke (center) cares for St. Vincent after the dog was found in a trash bag with its mouth tied shut. Photo courtesy of VERG
Dr. Brett Levitzke (center) cares for St. Vincent after the dog was found in a trash bag with its mouth tied shut. Photo courtesy of VERG

VERG’s nonprofit Positive Tails funded all of St. Vincent’s care while he was in the hospital, and New York Bully Crew, a dog rescue organization, took in the canine after he left the veterinary clinic. He was between 10 and 12 when he was found in the trash bag.

“He was majestic,” said Carla Mohan, director of operations at NYBC. “He was really a pleasure to be around both for humans and for other dogs. He was wonderful. We felt that St. Vincent was like a grandfather, between his kindness and his wisdom.”

NYBC’s founder Craig Fields cared for the dog until he ultimately found a family that took him in for about seven months. He remained “spoiled and loved until he was laid to rest,” Mohan said.

St. Vincent was a Leonberger, a breed that enjoys the company of families and is known for its “gentle nature,” “serene patience,” “aristocratic grace” and “elegance,” according to The American Kennel Club.

St. Vincent had to be euthanized because of a neuropathy condition that was common in his breed, according to Mohan.

“I like to think that he waited until he finally had somewhere to enjoy before he passed,” she said.

Mohan said the abuse the dog went through was one of the most inhumane cases she had ever seen. “No one should ever be treated like that whether it’s two-legged or four-legged,” she said. “It was horrific. I wouldn’t treat my worst enemy the way that they treated him.”

“Saint Vincent, thank you for your bravery and forgiveness,” an obituary on NYBC’s website reads. “You will be remembered with joy in our hearts and a smile in our souls. Play with the angels and run free. You are loved.”

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