New Jersey man charged with killing his girlfriend’s poodle

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ASBURY PARK – A townsman threatened the well-being of his girlfriend’s two toy poodles during an exchange of text messages with the woman, then proceeded to kill one of the dogs and abandon the other, authorities announced on Wednesday.

The Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that Nicholas Winter, 35, is charged with third degree animal cruelty causing death and a misdemeanor of abandoning a pet in the incident investigated by Asbury Park Police on June 4.

Just before 4 a.m. on that date, the prosecutor’s office said, officers responded to a home on Locust Drive and found the resident’s 12-year-old male poodle, Bentley, deceased. Bentley is seen on the right in a photo released by the prosecution.

The other dog pictured, a 14-year-old female poodle named Sophia, was reported missing at the time of the initial police response but was found in the area later that day.

Prosecutors said an investigation revealed that Winter and his unidentified girlfriend had an argument, after which Winter repeatedly texted her while she was at work, threatening animals.

An autopsy revealed that Bentley had died from blunt force trauma, authorities said.

“To take the life of a helpless animal as a means of emotionally traumatizing its owner is reprehensible and tragic,” Monmouth County Acting District Attorney Lori Linskey said in a statement released Wednesday.

If convicted in the third degree, Winter could face up to five years in New Jersey state prison.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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