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RYE, N.Y. -- An apartment building superintendent who was caught on tape entering a unit and having sex with the tenant's puppy was sentenced to prison Tuesday.
Kujtim Nicaj, 44, was sentenced Tuesday by Westchester County Judge Barry Warhit to 6 1/2 years in prison and 7 years' probation after pleading guilty in October 2012 to burglary and sexual misconduct charges.
"This case was unusual to say the least," Warhit said. "You exhibited cruelty to the animal. Your behavior was inexcusable."
Alan Kachalsky thought something in his apartment was amiss for months -- blinds drawn that had not been, a window left open that he had left shut. But nothing ever went missing, and, fearing he may come off as paranoid, Kachalsky never went to the police.
Instead, he set up three cameras and waited. Kachalsky shared his apartment at the Rye Colony Cooperative Apartments with a male Labrador puppy, Gunner, who, unbeknownst to Kachalsky, was the real target of the burglar.
The burglar, it turned out, wasn't there to steal anything, Kachalsky said Tuesday, but for something far more unimaginable.
Kachalsky, an attorney, said it never occurred to him that someone was returning to have sex with his dog.
Kachalsky turned over the video to police, who questioned and arrested Nicaj on Feb. 9, 2012, for sex acts against the 1-year-old dog committed the day before.
Nicaj, who wore a blue-striped gray sweater and blue jeans Tuesday in Westchester County Court, spoke little in court before his sentence, only telling Warhit that he had nothing to say. Steven Davidson, a lawyer for Nicaj, indicated after the proceedings that he might appeal the sentence, calling it unfair.
"We'll do everything we can to protect his interests," Davidson said, adding that Nicaj was doing well under the circumstances, "other than what his family is going through."
Nicaj will also have to register as a sex offender after the completion of his sentence, as well as agree to stay away from Kachalsky.
Nicaj, a 15-year resident of Rye, worked at the apartment complex for six years before his arrest, and Kachalsky said that the super seemed like a normal guy until one day, a few weeks before Kachalsky had set up the cameras, when the two had an odd run-in outside Kachalsky's apartment.
"He said he had stopped by to check the gas," Kachalsky said, even though the gas had been on for some time.
Gunner, a 1-year-old male Labrador puppy, was the target of sex acts by his owner's building superintendent.(Photo: The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News)
Finally, Kachalsky set up three cameras, which provided indisputable evidence -- "a naked man, in your apartment, having sex with your dog," Kachalsky said.
"I was wondering why someone would keep coming in here," Kachalsky said. "I never noticed anything to make me think."
A subsequent examination of Gunner by a veterinarian revealed no permanent physical damage, Kachalsky said, and the vet even expressed surprise that the soon-to-be 2-year-old pup could still interact normally with men.
The dog had always eagerly greeted visitors at the door, Kachalsky said, and still does, but on the video, with Nicaj, Gunner was abnormally passive.
"Gunner just sat on the couch," Kachalsky said. "He did not get up."
Now, Kachalsky said, Gunner is mostly back to his old self. He turns 2 years old Jan. 25.
"Anytime anyone comes in, he's all over 'em," Kachalsky said. "He's a terrific dog."