Couple charged with animal cruelty

A man and a woman are facing animal cruelty charges for allegedly leaving their dog tied to a backyard fence for days after they moved out of state, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Roselle Police Chief Brian Barnes jointly announced Thursday.

Curtis Swan, 27, and Aaleyah Clay, 29, of Sandy Springs, Georgia, are both charged with third-degree causing serious bodily injury to a domesticated animal via neglect, as well as abandonment of a domesticated animal, a disorderly persons offense.

On Friday, November 20, an Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey animal control officer was dispatched to a home on the 300 block of White Street in Roselle regarding a welfare check for a possibly abandoned dog in need of medical attention, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Patricia Cronin, the Prosecutor’s Office’s designated animal cruelty liaison. There, it was learned that the dog, a young male Husky, had a severe, infected open wound encircling a large portion of his neck, a product of being tied to the backyard fence; the officer then reported the matter to the Roselle Police Department.

An investigation led by Roselle Detective Ivan Romero revealed that the dog’s owners, Swan and Clay, had moved to their new home in Georgia five days earlier, on Sunday, November 15, telling a neighbor that they would eventually return for the dog on an unspecified date.

The dog was taken to the Newark branch of Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey for medical treatment, after which he was transferred to an affiliated shelter in South Jersey for further recovery.  

Convictions on third-degree crimes can result in terms of 3 to 5 years in state prison.

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

To review an informational sheet on animal cruelty and how to report suspected instances of it, go online to