Even though he’s a practicing veterinarian, Hudson Valley Assemblyman Steve Katz has been getting along with man’s best friend like Katz and dogs.
Rumors have been circulating this week that Katz, who may be planning a primary challenge to Sen. Greg Ball, would hold a press conference to discuss a previously undisclosed arrest record.
Reached by phone to discuss the rumors, Katz confirmed he’d been arrested, twice – once for illegally disposing of a dog’s body, and once for allegedly attacking a dog that he was supposed to be treating.
Both times, Katz said he was ultimately exonerated.
And Katz said that Ball, his possible Senate primary opponent, was trying to run a smear campaign against him.
“This quite frankly smells like another dead goat story,” Katz said, referring to an incident in which Ball claimed Central American gang members placed a dead goat on his property, to threaten him because of his stance on immigration.
First, Katz explained rumors about his arrest for illegally disposing of a dog.
“The first one just proves that no good deed goes unpunished,” Katz began before launching into his shaggy dog story, which happened back when he was practicing in Philadelphia.
“It was 11 o’clock at night on a hot summer night,” he said. “I get a call from a patient who is an 80-year-old lady, who lives with her 102-year-old mother. Their dog was dead on the living room floor and they wanted to know: Could I come and pick it up and take it to the hospital?”
“So, their 90-pound German Shepherd is dead on the living room floor,” Katz continued. “I put it in my car on the floor, and while I’m heading to the hospital I’m starting to smell something really bad in my car.”
“I won’t go into the details,” he added, “but it was starting to ooze on my daughter’s Barbie doll collection.”
Katz says he got the his clinic and realized he didn’t have his keys – and that his technician, who did have keys, was two hours away.
“So, I decided ‘I’m not keeping my dog in the trunk for two hours,’ and I drove home and put him on top of the dumpster outside my apartment,” Katz said. “Lo and behold, I turn around and there’s two policemen standing there, who probably figured ‘This dog must be full of drugs.’ They arrested me.”
Katz says when he was arraigned the next day, the judge asked the police whether the they had gone into Katz’s apartment to corroborate that Katz lived there. The police hadn’t, and Katz says the judge dismissed the case.
Was that the full extent of Mr. Katz’s arrest record?
“Weelllll,” he said, “The other story is the Chihuahua story.”
Katz says that the year he opened his veterinary hospital in the Bronx, he was giving free exams one day a couple came in with a vicious Chihuahua they couldn’t control.
“The dog lunged at me and took a bite out of piece of my hand, and I’m trying to shake him off my hand, and he fell off the exam table three feet off the floor. And he was fine,” Katz said. “But the people freaked out and said, ‘You’re murdering my dog!’ So they called the cops and they arrested me, and they took me down to the 46th precinct.”
“During the trial, it came out that the couple had taken their dog to the Animal Medical Center before they came to me.”
“The doctor who saw the dog there was a young intern from Texas, and he got on the stand and he testified that the dog was ‘Meaner than a dirt snake.’”
Katz said the intern from Texas testified that it had taken two veterinary assistants to restrain the Chihuahua.
“It was the meanest dog you’ve ever seen,” Katz said. “At that point the judge rolled her eyes, and told the ADA ‘You better do your homework a whole lot better,’ and dismissed the case.”
Katz said the story was already out on his Facebook and Youtube pages, and he blamed Greg Ball’s campaign for trying to make it seem like a bigger deal than it was. He also he plans to make an announcement regarding his plans for the seat before the end of March – but he will not be holding any canine-related press conferences.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Ball noted that Katz is currently facing a three-way primary for his Assembly seat – and attributed Katz’s statements about Ball’s spreading of dog-related rumors to the inherent stresses of his situation.
“The stress of [Katz’s] current three-way primary is understandable yet attempting to pull Senator Ball into that stress is not,” said Ball spokeswoman Brittany Oat. “Senator Ball is focused on creating jobs, cutting taxes, and delivering for this district. It’s no time for political games or division. As always the senator is committed to working together with all elected officials to working toward those goals, and delivering for the people in these tough times.”
Here’s a YouTube video of Katz discussing his troubles with man’s best friend:
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