ASBURY PARK - A city man has been charged with killing one of his girlfriend's dogs and abandoning the other, acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey said.
Nicholas C. Winter, 35, was arrested and charged Tuesday after an investigation by Asbury Park Police and Monmouth County SPCA identified him as the suspect in the crimes against the two toy poodles, Linskey said.
City police responded just before 4 a.m. June 4 to a residence on Locust Drive, officials said.
Officers found a 12-year-old deceased dog named Bentley at the home and later located a 14-year-old dog named Sophia, who had been reported missing, authorities said.
An investigation found that Winter had been texting his girlfriend, threatening the welfare of her dogs while she was at work, police said.
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An autopsy performed on Bentley determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma, officials said.
"We take animal cruelty cases extremely seriously in Monmouth County," Linskey said. "Taking the life of a defenseless animal as a means to emotionally traumatize its owner is reprehensible and tragic. We thank the joint efforts of the Asbury Park Police Department and the SPCA for their work on this case and their compassion for the canine victim in this case."
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Winter faces charges of third-degree animal cruelty resulting in death and abandoning a domestic animal, a disorderly persons offense, according to the Prosecutor's Office.
He was held in Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending a detention hearing. He could face up to five years in prison in convicted of the third-degree crime, officials said.
Nicolas Fernandes is the early morning breaking news reporter. A lifelong New Jersey resident, he has previously worked as a features writer and sports reporter. Contact him at 732-540-4401 or email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Asbury Park man accused of killing girlfriend's dog