A Toms River NJ man recently pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges in connection with the death of his dog on a frozen river.
The suspect is a 29-year-old resident of Toms River, New Jersey. He was driving his pickup truck over the ice on a frozen river in March 2015 when the vehicle fell into the water. The suspect’s dog, a 2-year-old boxer mix, was inside the truck and drowned as a result of the accident.
At first glance, this might seem like an unavoidable tragedy. However, Toms River police and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office conducted a joint investigation into the accident and determined that the suspect’s liability rose from the level of mere negligence to criminal recklessness. For instance, witnesses told police that another person got out of the vehicle before the suspect drove onto the ice, giving some indication that the suspect knew just how dangerous his actions were. Beyond that, the suspect reportedly drove to the center of the river and exposed his dog to great risk by spinning the vehicle around in circles.
Although the suspect did not sustain any injuries in the auto accident, the suspect’s dog died when the pickup truck sank into the water.
The suspect was later placed under arrest and charged with multiple criminal offenses, including animal cruelty. Now the suspect has managed to avoid trial by reaching a plea agreement with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. The suspect is going to plead guilty to animal cruelty; in exchange, prosecutors will reportedly recommend that he be sentenced to one years in the Ocean County Jail.
The terms of the suspect’s plea deal with Ocean County prosecutors also call for him to pay restitution in the case.
Additionally, once the suspect completes his prison sentence, he will be permanently barred from owning any kind of pet in the State of New Jersey.
For more information, read the New Jersey News 12 article, “Man Whose Truck Fell through Ice Pleads Guilty in Dog Death.”
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