NJ woman sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to drowning 10-week-old golden retriever just days after she adopted him

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A woman from New Jersey faces six months in prison after pleading guilty to drowning a 10-week-old golden retriever puppy in a pond. Tonya Fea, 49, feared she could not afford the expensive veterinary care her puppy needed.

According to the news release from the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Fea pleaded guilty on Thursday to animal cruelty in the April 29 drowning of a puppy discovered submerged after having been weighed down by a glass vase at a West Milford pond.

Fea knew her ailing puppy had been alive, but instead chose to drive to a secluded part of a pond and drown the puppy. According to her attorney, Fea “panicked” and decided “to dispose of the sick dog instead of taking it to the veterinary clinic and having to pay the anticipated veterinary bills to help the puppy live.

According to Last Resort Animal Rescue, the puppy was discovered “dead and ice cold” in 2019; they named the puppy Jenny and offered a reward for the person responsible for the puppy’s death.

Fea told the court she panicked:

“What was the reason for the panic? You say you panicked, but you had a vet appointment that morning and you chose to take the dog in a cage and submerge it in a lake. So what were you panicking about?”

Judge Marilyn Clark

A necropsy found the puppy died of asphyxiation from water; Jenny was alive when Fea submerged her.

As part of a plea deal, the State has recommended Fea be placed on probation for five years, serve 180 days in the Passaic County Jail, continue counseling, perform 100 days of community service and be barred from owning dogs in the future.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 5, 2021.

Read previous coverage here.

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