The dog-sitter accused of killing the pet he tended in Seaside Heights last August misses his Ocean County Court appearance, and the judge issues a bench warrant for his arrest and extradition.

Nicholas Piccolino (Ocean Co. Dept. of Corrections)

Nicholas Piccolino, 34, of Seaside Heights, faces a third-degree animal cruetly charge for the beating death of Booshu, a 10-year-old Bichon Frise that he was minding for an acquaintance.

According to Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato's office, Piccolino had an April 10 appearance to fulfill. His lawyer explained that Piccolino was serving 20 days in New York City for a shoplifting charge.

Judge James M. Blaney, at the behest of County Assistant Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman, issued a warrant, effective on his release, and set bail at a full $20,000 after incarceration in Ocean County.

Piccolino's bail was set at $35,000 last September, after the necropsy report and witness interviews were completed.

Speaking to investigators on the night of August 19, Booshu's owner accused Piccolino of causing the dog's death. A neighbor in an upstairs apartment told NJSPCA Detective Sergeant Larry Donato and Seaside Heights police about hearing loud bangs and a dog yelping, investigators said.

Piccolino allegedly let the owner know a short while later that something was wrong with Booshu. According to detectives, he claimed that the dog "dirtied" herself in her crate, and that he dropped her while cleaning her.

Examination by Dr. Shannon Swist of the New Jersey Animal Health Diagnostic Lab revealed multiple blunt force injuries of the head and body, authorities said.

Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.

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