Wall Township, NJ – A 7-year-old male cocker spaniel — suffering skin and ear infections, dehydration, and with open wounds from several years of apparent abuse and neglect — was turned into the humane society in Tinton Falls by Keith Morgan on Thursday.
Staff had to shave off the dog’s fur as it was filthy, matted with feces and urine, and singed. It was determined the dog had been imprisoned for an interminable length of time. The male dog was sent to an emergency vet hospital for care.
The Good Samaritan claimed he found the animal dumped along the side of Belmar Boulevard in Wall Township tied up in a garbage bag. He was drawn to investigate when his wife noticed the bag move.
The Associated Humane Societies (AHS) initially offered a reward of $500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the mistreatment of the animal.
Morgan was hailed as the dog’s alleged rescuer until Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) authorities determined details of his story didn’t add up. Although Morgan seemed convincing, authorities found it farfetched the man happened to find an animal near death in the manner which he described.
Police viewed an interview with Morgan where he expressed outrage over the condition of the poor animal. Suspicions his story was fabricated were confirmed when officers found the neglected dog had been licensed to Morgan in 2007.
Morgan, 56, and his wife, Shauna Ewing Morgan, 43, were taken into custody Friday from their home in Brick. The Morgans were taken to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and hit with several charges of animal abuse and interfering with an investigation.
The offenses can carry up to six months in jail or less, but, if the dog dies, the terms of the charges and punishment could be worse for the couple.
Animal cruelty or animal abuse covers a wide range of actions or lack of actions regarding the care and well-being of animals. Passive cruelty involves neglect. Examples of neglect are starvation, dehydration, infestation, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions, and failure to seek veterinary care when an animal needs medical attention.
Active cruelty is defined with a physical malicious intent to harm. Intentional cruelty should be considered a sign of disturbed psychological problems of those inflicting injury. This type of behavior is often associated with sociopathic behavior and should be taken very seriously. Physical abuse involves directly kicking, beating, and striking.
Statistically, dogs are the most common victims of animal cruelty, making up roughly 65 percent of known cases.
[Image via Associated Humane Popcorn Park Shelter Facebook]