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Freehold man admits animal cruelty in death of puppies

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A Freehold resident has pleaded guilty to charges of animal cruelty and admitted his neglect caused the deaths of four German Shepard puppies in his care, Monmouth County
Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced on Nov. 5.

Daniel McDonald, 26, pleaded guilty to four counts of third degree animal cruelty before state Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano Jr., sitting in Freehold, according to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

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The charges are related to the deaths of four German Shepherd puppies that were found dead on a property in Howell where he was temporarily residing.

McDonald also pleaded guilty to third degree receiving stolen property after admitting he was in possession of a John Deere front end loader that had been reported stolen out of Monroe Township, according to the press release.

McDonald is scheduled to return for sentencing on Jan. 8. In accordance with his plea agreement, the sentencing recommendation is five years in state prison to run concurrent to McDonald’s pending charges in Middlesex and Bergen counties.

As part of the plea, McDonald will be required to perform community service and he agreed to an order to never to own or reside with animals.

The remains of two dead German Shepherd puppies were found in a fire pit on a property
in Howell where McDonald was temporarily residing on May 18.

The Howell Police Department and the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Law Enforcement Division, conducted an investigation leading to the discovery of the remains of two more dead puppies which had been buried on the property, according to the press release.

The joint investigation ultimately revealed the puppies had been stolen from a farm in
Somerset County on or about May 12, when the puppies were 3 weeks old. Investigators
learned McDonald was staying at the Somerset County farm prior to the time the puppies went missing.

Investigators also learned the puppies were ill, in distress, and were struggling to breathe
prior to their deaths.

A necropsy performed on the two buried puppies revealed the puppies suffered from parasites and also were severely emaciated and malnourished with “no indications of recent nutritional ingestion,” according to the press release.

Gramiccioni said that during his plea, McDonald took full responsibility for not getting the puppies the proper care they needed, which resulted in their deaths.

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