Asbury Park family members plead guilty to abusing puppy, Heaven

heaven 1

By Ashley Peskoe/
on December 18, 2013 at 3:15 PM, updated December 18, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Three city residents pleaded guilty Wednesday in municipal court to animal cruelty charges after a puppy named Heaven was brought to an animal hospital “near death,” authorities said.

Tyshon Taylor, 19, pleaded guilty to two criminal charges of animal cruelty, including failure to provide proper sustenance and proper veterinary care. As part of a plea agreement, the prosecution will recommend a sentence of 9 months in jail, which was suspended to serve 90 days, in addition to 30 days community service, two years probation and a lifetime ban of animal ownership.

Taylor’s mother, Amanda Boyd, 34, and grandmother, Norma Manuel, 51, also each pleaded guilty to two civil charges of animal cruelty and are each expected to be sentenced to a $500 fine, 60 hours community service and a lifetime ban of animal ownership.

“Judge [Daniel] DiBenedetto sent out a clear message that first of all he’s going to jail, he’s going to be going to jail for 90 days,” Monmouth County SPCA Chief Victor “Buddy” Amato said. “And if he falls out of line, he’s looking at a heck of a lot more jail time than that.”

The trio stood in front of the judge next to their respective attorneys and answered the questions with a brief yes or no response. Boyd waived her right to an attorney but had consulted with her son and mother’s representation.

“It sends a clear message to other people that judges are handing out jail sentences now,” Amato said. “They can’t even go to the boardwalk and win a goldfish now.”

The charges stemmed from Nov. 13 when Manuel brought the abused Pit Bull puppy to the Shrewsbury Animal Hospital in Tinton Falls “near death,” Amato said. An investigation revealed Heaven had been tethered to a pole in a basement, living it its own urine and was not fed, Amato said.

Amato said the dog gained more than 20 pounds since it was brought to the animal hospital and is doing well.

“So that shows you pure abuse for a dog that gained 20 pounds,” Amato said.

Monmouth County SPCA Sgt. William Hyer said he was happy about the speedy outcome.

“We got a guilty plea that included jail time on disorderly persons which is unheard of,” Hyer said. “No one’s money got wasted, no one’s time got wasted. It’s adjudicated. We come back for sentencing and it’s done.”

Approximately 20 people filled the seats in the Asbury Park courtroom, including Martin Mondoker, an administrator of the Sammy the Cocker Spaniel Facebook page. He said he was satisfied with the plea and how quickly the matter was resolved.

“It’s a quick resolution,” Mondoker said. “This was done in a timely manner.”

Last month, a Brick couple were each sentenced to six months in jail for abusing a 17-year-old dog named Sammy. Keith and Shauna Morgans case started in March and was resolved after more than five court appearances. The Morgans have each since filed an appeal.

Sentencing in the Heaven case was scheduled for Jan. 14 at 12:30 p.m.

Heaven Case


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