An Ocean County Grand Jury has indicted a Toms River man accused of gassing his dog to death last April, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said.
Clifford Robbins, 75, was indicted on a charge of third degree cruelty to animals. The indictment is welcome news to animal rights groups, who have been clamoring for action against Robbins for months.
Police responded to Robbins’ home after receiving a call on April 14. Officers found Mocha dead in a sealed animal travel carrier which had been connected by a hose to the exhaust of Robbins’ vehicle. Toms River police contacted the Toms River Animal Control department, who responded and took control of the continuing investigation regarding Mocha’s death.
NJSPCA notified the Prosecutor‘s Office about the dog‘s death on May 7,. They wanted legal advice on how to proceed and whether charges were appropriate. The prosecutor’s office immediately directed that a necropsy be ordered and opened its’ own investigation regarding the events surrounding Mocha’s death.
Members of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and NJSPCA, assisted by the Toms River police served Robbins with an arrest warrant at his home at 6:45 a. Robbins was processed and released. He will have a pre-arraignment within the next 21 days and a formal arraignment within 50 days, Coronato said.
The indictment was presented by Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office considers this matter and the surrounding circumstances to still be an active and open investigation as to all related issues.