Ocean County man sentenced in killing of Navy vet’s therapy dog

A Manahawkin man was sentenced to 90 days in jail in the killing of a Navy veteran’s service dog in training.
Joseph Russo, 25, pleaded guilty in June to animal cruelty in the killing of Diesel, a 3-year-old Pomeranian who was training to be a service/therapy dog for Navy veteran Abigail Russel.
Russo will be on probation for five years, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said.
He also must complete 30 hours of community service and anger management, and is prohibited from owning or working with animals during his probation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Carr under Patrick’s Law, a 2013 law that increased penalties for abused, neglected and/or tortured animals. It is named for a pit bull who was found emaciated after being thrown down a trash chute.

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