WEST MILFORD, N.J. - A grand jury will hear the case of a woman who allegedly drowned a 10-week-old puppy found submerged in a New Jersey pond, prosecutors announced Friday.
Tonya Fea, 47, of Jefferson Township, opted not to appear for a first court date last week in Passaic County on charges of animal cruelty, trespassing and disorderly persons.
A grand jury will now hear the case and decide whether to indict.
A rescue officer at The Last Resort Rescue reportedly discovered the crate at Greenwood Pond off Bonter Road on April 30. The golden retreiver puppy was "ice cold," soaked inside the crate, according to the rescue.
Lakebed vegetarion was reportedly hanging on the crate, with a crystal vase and puppy training pads stuck to the side of the puppy's head with a small amount of blood on them. A $22 price tag could be seen on the bottom of the vase.
Officials said Fea initially told police that the puppy was already dead, but an autopsy indicated the cause of death was "asphyxia due to immersion in water."
Fea faces a maximum of five years in state prison for each animal cruelty charge, plus a maximum of 30 days in county jail for defiant trespassing.
Anyone with additional information regarding this case is urged to contact the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office tip line by calling 1-877-370-PCPO or emailing. Tips can also be sent to West Milford Det. Eric Darnsteadt by calling 973-728-2801.
Those interested in donating to the Last Resort Rescue can do so here.