by Al DellaFave, OCPO
TOMS RIVER-Andrew Mayer, 29, was sentenced today on his plea to Cruelty to Animals in the Third degree. The State was seeking a sentence of 364 days in the Ocean County Jail as a condition of Probation, along with restitution to the various rescue agencies that had requested it (of all the agencies involved in the rescue, only the NJSP and TR Fire District One replied asking for restitution, $6273.76 and $8,370.60 respectively). Also the State requested that Mayer be banned from companion animal ownership for 5 years.
Judge James Blaney sentenced Mayer to 180 days in the Ocean County Jail. He agreed with the State that some incarceration is appropriate for the reckless act that lead to a large rescue operation and caused the demise of his dog, Rolo. He did not sentence him to any probation. He did order him to pay $1,000 restitution to each of the two agencies seeking restitution, as he felt Mr. Mayer should take some financial responsibility for his actions. The judge did not deem a ban on companion ownership as necessary in this case, as Mayer expressed remorse and his acts were deemed reckless and no intent to harm his dog. He was also sentenced to pay minimum fines of $155. The Sheriffs officers took custody of Mayer and he was escorted to the County Jail. The related Criminal Mischief in the third degree charge and Pollution of water summons were dismissed as part of the sentence.
His acts on March 1, 2015, purposely, knowingly or recklessly failed to provide necessary care for and protection of his dog, Rolo, from harm by driving his pickup truck onto the frozen Toms River and as a result the vehicle cracked through the ice and his dog died.
Mayer then failed to notify authorities of this incident when he got safely to shore, resulting in a huge rescue operation that took place for hours involving the United States Coast Guard’s Aviation Unit, The New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, NJ State Police/local marine units, multiple local police departments, fire companies and First Aid squads from Toms River, Beachwood, Pine Beach and Island Heights.
Mayer is released on his own recognizance to appear in court on a future date. The maximum he could face on each charge would be five years in New Jersey State Prison.
This case was a joint investigation by the NJ State Police, NJ SPCA, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the Toms River, Pine Beach, Beachwood and Island Heights Police Departments. Prosecuting attorney is Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman.