Elizabeth woman charged with animal cruelty

An Elizabeth woman has been charged with animal cruelty for neglecting two of her pet dogs before recently surrendering them to a local shelter, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Wednesday.

Maritza Acevedo, 45, is charged with two counts of fourth-degree animal cruelty.

On Thursday, September 27, Acevedo turned over a pair of 2-year-old black poodles to the Elizabeth Animal Shelter, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Patricia Cronin, who manages the humane animal treatment subsection of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit. Shelter employees were so alarmed by the condition of the dogs that they alerted the Elizabeth Police Department, which assigned Detective Rui Xavier to investigate, Cronin said. 

Based upon the medical condition of the dogs, the criminal charges were subsequently filed. Both dogs were so matted that they couldn’t see properly and had waste stuck to their bodies, and one of the dogs was severely underweight and could not keep food down.

Detective Xavier thanked the Shelter for alerting authorities and urged other concerned citizens or organizations to do the same. Anyone with information about similar incidents is urged to contact their local police department and request to speak with the assigned humane law enforcement officer.

Convictions on fourth-degree crimes can be punishable by terms ranging from probation to 18 months in prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.