The Toms River 75-year-old accused of euthenizing his dog now faces an animal cruelty charge.

Clifford Robbins was served with an arrest warrant at 6:45 AM today at his home, processed and released for a future court date, according to information from the office of County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato.

By law, Robbins is to be given a pre-arraignment conference within 21 days, with arraignment within 50 days, authorities said.

If convicted of the third-degree count, Robbins would face a possible penalty of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Toms River police initially responded to the Robbins home on April 14, finding the dog called Mocha dead in a sealed animal carrier that had been connected by a hose to the exhaust pipe on his car, authorities said.

Township Animal Control officers took over control of the investigation.

On May 7, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sought legal advice from  the Prosecutor's office on whether charges were appropriate, and if so, how to proceed.

The incident drew ire from animal-rights activists who carried placards into Toms River Township Council meetings through the summer and implored the governing body's support.