A 76-year-old Toms River man who euthanized his pet dog, Mocha, by hooking a line from his car’s exhaust pipe to a crate in which the dog was locked will serve two years of probation and have to surrender his pet cat to an animal rescue group.
Clifford Robbins previously pleaded guilty to third degree animal cruelty. He was sentenced Friday by Superior Court Judge James Blaney. He will also have to submit to mental health counseling and perform 30 hours of community service, plus waive his right to ever own a pet again.
“I commend Assistant Prosecutor Tannenbaum-Newman’s efforts in assuring Robbins was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said in a statement. “The successful conviction of Robbins to the charge of Third Degree Cruelty to Animals is the highest degree statute possible by law within the state of New Jersey.”
The sentencing stems from an April 14, 2014 call for police response in reference to the death of Mocha. Arriving officers found Mocha dead within a sealed animal travel carrier which had been connected by a hose to the exhaust of Robbins’ vehicle.
On May 7, 2014, officials from the NJSPCA brought the case to the attention of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office seeking legal advice regarding how to proceed with the investigation and whether charges were appropriate. Toms River officials previously had elected not to prosecute.
The prosecutor’s office immediately directed that a necropsy be conducted and opened its own investigation regarding the events surrounding Mocha’s death. Robins was indicted in the case in August 2014.