WYANDANCH, N.Y. (PIX11) — Two men are accused of neglecting nearly two dozen newborn pit bulls after the puppies were found covered in urine and feces in a car on Long Island earlier this month, authorities said Monday.

Russell Brown, 67, and Jamar Belle, 28, also allegedly had two loaded guns that were found next to a 2-year-old child in the backseat of the SUV that was parked on Merritt
Avenue in Wyandanch at 7:10 p.m. on Sept. 1, prosecutors said.

Officers found 19 pit bull puppies covered in feces and urine in the truck. Ten of the animals were confined in a rusted crate in the trunk and the others were in a plastic bin in the backseat, next to the toddler, according to court records. The pit bulls were about five to six weeks old and didn’t have their mother to nurse them.

“The alleged actions of these defendants represent a despicable level of disregard for the wellbeing of not one, but two of our most vulnerable populations: animals and children,” Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said.

The puppies were taken to a veterinarian for treatment. The child was placed with Child Protective Services, authorities said.

Belle’s attorney, John LoTurco, said the child was not his client’s and was not in his care. Belle also agreed to give the puppies up for adoption rather than fighting the state for them, the lawyer said.

“Jamar Belle is presumed innocent and once the true facts are revealed, we believe it will demonstrate that our client had no criminal culpability in this matter… we are hopeful that a resolution can be reached that will reflect our client’s cooperation and lack of criminal conduct,” LoTurco said in a statement to PIX11 News.  

Brown and Belle were indicted on charges of carrying an animal in a cruel manner, neglect of an impounded animal, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of a firearm, prosecutors said.

Brown’s attorney could not immediately be reached Monday.

Mira Wassef is a digital reporter who has covered news and sports in the New York City area for more than a decade. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.