Jul 28, 2014

Prosecutor's Office Investigating Euthanization of Dog in Toms River

Dog was allegedly euthanized using a vehicle's exhaust fumes

Prosecutor's Office Investigating Euthanization of Dog in Toms River
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office is looking into an allegation of what some local residents are calling a barbaric euthanization of a dog in Toms River.

The dog, apparently named Mocha, was described by witnesses who have spoken to Toms River Patch to have been euthanized by its owner on April 14 by way of exhaust gases from a vehicle. The incident took place on 2nd Avenue, sources say. The owner, who has not been identified by name, is alleged to have locked the dog in a crate, then euthanized it by hooking a line from the car's exhaust into the crate.

The allegations have taken on a life of their own since the incident, spurring outrage among animal rights activists who appeared before the Toms River Township council at its meeting Tuesday to demand the owner of the dog face charges.

Municipal agencies in Toms River did not file charges after reviewing the case, but Capt. Jack Sramaty of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office confirmed that the county agency is engaged in an active investigation of the matter.

"They will make a full and complete evaluation of the case," said Toms River Township attorney Ken Fitzsimmons after a member of the public asked about the case. "It is my position as township attorney to advise the members of the governing body that we should not comment on the matter while the investigation is pending. It is not appropriate to make comments at this time."

Assistant Toms River Township Attorney Merlino, in a letter to a resident obtained by Patch, explained that while the incident was "a terrible occurrence" the decision was made not to prosecute the case based upon "extenuating circumstances."

"While the public perception of this matter may be different, in our system, prosecutorial decisions are not based on popular vote, but on the facts and the law," Merlino wrote. "In this case, the extenuating circumstances did not warrant criminal prosecution."

Sramaty said the prosecutor's office could not comment in detail on its investigation because the investigation remains active.

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