An Uber driver is accused of attacking a rider’s service dog, leaving the animal with a dislocated hip and knee injury, authorities allege.
The driver, Muhammad Qayyum, was arraigned on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and harming a service animal in the second degree, according to court records.
Qayyum, who was released without bail, could not be reached by phone on Wednesday. He’s being represented by an attorney for Legal Aid, which didn’t respond to a request for comment.
“Any mistreatment of animals is abhorrent and we do not tolerate violent behavior,” said Alix Anfang, an Uber spokeswoman, in a statement on Wednesday. “The driver-partner and rider accounts have been suspended while we investigate this incident.”
Uber drivers are required to accommodate service animals, and refusal can lead to “deactivation.”
Authorities say the female passenger told police that Qayyum grabbed her service dog’s leash from her hand, yanked her from her lap and threw the animal to the ground in Manhattan on Jan. 21, court records show.
A police officer reported that the rider claimed that the knee injury required surgery.
Qayyum’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 29.