Conflicting Reports Arise in Toms River Animal Cruelty Case


TOMS RIVER-Toms River officials are denying a claim by the NJSPCA over the account of what happened when Animal Control Officers responded to an April 14, 2014 incident of alleged animal cruelty.

NJSPCA WROTE: A 75-year-old Toms River man who was charged earlier this year with animal cruelty for allegedly euthanizing his elderly dog by locking it in a car and piping in exhaust fumes has pleaded guilty and will likely receive probation at sentencing, officials confirmed.

Clifford Robbins pleaded guilty to a third degree animal cruelty charge on Monday, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Robbins entered the guilty plea before Superior Court Judge James Blaney, who scheduled sentencing for March 1.

Toms River officials decided against pursuing municipal charges, leading the NJSPCA to bring the case to the attention of the county prosecutor’s office. The case spurred protests at several Toms River township council meetings earlier this year and spawned a “Justice for Mocha” group on Facebook.

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Toms River Officials disputed that account.  They said it was them and not the NJ SPCA who pursued the matter.

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“Toms River Animal Control turned this matter over to the Prosecutor’s office to handle.  Based on the orders from the Prosecutor’s Office, we cannot comment further on this matter,” said Township Public Information Officer Debbi Winogracki.  “If you need further clarification, you will have to reach out to them.”

Not so, according to the NJSPCA.

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“NJSPCA got involved after Toms River Animal Control removed the body of this dog but took no legal action against Mr. Robbins.,” the NJ SPCA said in a statement on Friday.


The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office was not available for comment on Saturday.

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