A Connecticut man has been charged with third-degree animal cruelty after allegedly forcing a dog out of a moving vehicle on the Garden State Parkway last month, killing it, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Wednesday.
Timothy Yowell, 65, of Bristol, Conn. earlier this week was charged and subsequently released on a summons with a future court date.
A joint investigation involving the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) and the New Jersey State Police determined that Yowell was driving a Mazda southbound on the Garden State Parkway in Clark on September 11 when the incident occurred, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jill O’Malley, who is prosecuting the case. The dog was believed to be struck by a rear portion of Yowell’s vehicle before being fatally struck by a second vehicle, O’Malley said.
Yowell did not stop his vehicle and instead left the area, according to the investigation. When the dog’s remains were recovered by a NJSPCA sergeant, a tag was also recovered indicating that the dog belonged to Yowell, O’Malley said.
The complaint against Yowell marks the first time third-degree animal cruelty charges were filed in Union County since “Patrick’s Law” was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie last summer. The legislation, named for a pit bull that had suffered severe abuse in Newark, stiffened penalties and increased fines for incidents of animal abuse.
Convictions on third-degree offenses can result in terms of 3 to 5 years in state prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.