Ocean County man beat vet’s service dog to death, will get out in 3 months
STAFFORD TOWNSHIP — A man will spend 90 days in jail after admitting to killing a small dog, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.
Joseph Russo, 25, of the Manahawkin section of town will also serve five years of probation after pleading guilty to killing a 3-year-old Pomeranian named Diesel. The dog was in training to be a service/therapy dog for its owner, who was identified by the prosecutor's office as a Navy veteran as well as a former friend of Russo's.
The owner told police the dog had been left in a room the owner rented at Russo's home, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said in February. When she returned home and found the dog dead, Russo told her the dog had suffered a seizure, the prosecutor's office said.
But a necropsy report showed Diesel had bruising on the skill and a severed spinal cord, the prosecutor's office said
Russo had pleaded guilty in June to an indictment charging him with having "purposely, knowingly or recklessly torment, torture, maim, unnecessarily or cruelly abuse or needlessly mutilate a companion dog," the prosecutor's office said.
He will also be required to complete 30 hours of community service and anger management, and will also be prohibited from owning or working with animals during his probation time.