PASSAIC COUNTY, N.J. — A New Jersey woman faces six months in county jail after pleading guilty to drowning a 10-week-old golden retriever puppy in a pond.
Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes announced Tonya Fea’s guilty plea to Animal Cruelty on Thursday, after the woman admitted to drowning the puppy in 2019.
During Thursday’s hearing, Fea’s attorney Richard Baldi said the 49-year-old woman, who had adopted the dog just four or five days prior to drowning it, did not take the sick puppy to its scheduled veterinarian appointment because she was concerned about the cost of medical bills, according to NorthJersey.com.
“I panicked,” Fea said during the hearing.
An investigation was launched after a member of an animal rescue organization found the deceased puppy “when she noticed a crate at the edge of the pond on Bonter Rd on the oak ridge side of town” in April of 2019, according to a Facebook post.
The rescue group noted in the post that the dog was found with puppy pads “stuck to the side of her head with a small amount of blood on them.”
A reward was offered, which reportedly led to Fea’s arrest. Terms of the plea agreement include six months in jail and five years probation, along with 100 hours of community service and a restriction from owning a dog in the future, Fox News reported.
She is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5.