An Uber driver was arrested last week after he allegedly yanked a small Silky Terrier out of its owner's grip and slammed it to the Midtown pavement, dislocating its back right hip. Driver Muhammad Qayyum, 23, told the owner that he would not take her dog in his car, according to the NYPD.
Qayyum's prospective passenger, a 30-year-old Manhattan woman, got into the Uber with her small dog in front of 1755 Broadway, a Wells Fargo bank near the corner of West 56th Street, around 7:30 p.m. last Thursday. Qayyum immediately told her that he would not transport her pet, according to the police. Police say he then got out of the car, walked around to the passenger's seat, grabbed the terrier's leash, and slammed the dog to the pavement.
The pup was transported to BluePearl, an emergency veterinarian a few blocks away, and underwent hip and knee surgery.
Reached for comment, an Uber spokeswoman confirmed that Uber drivers are required to accommodate service animals, and that Qayyum has been suspended for the duration of an internal investigation. She also confirmed that Qayyum was involved in an altercation with a passenger, but added that driver and passenger had differing accounts.
DNAInfo reports that, according to Uber, the passenger refused to show documents proving that her terrier was a service dog. She then made "racist, religiously disparaging slurs" and allegedly punched Qayyum in the face multiple times.
Qayyum was released without bail and has since been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony charge, and harm to a service animal in the second degree, a misdemeanor. No charges have been filed against the passenger.
"Any mistreatment of animals is abhorrent and we do not tolerate violent behavior on the platform," said an Uber spokeswoman in a statement.
Qayyum's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His next court appearance is set for March 29th.