An Ocean County grand jury indicted today a Toms River man on multiple criminal counts in connection with his truck crashing through the Toms River and failing to notify authorities in early March, prompting a search operation that eventually uncovered a dog inside the vehicle, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Al Della Fave announced in a release.
Andrew L. Mayer, 28, is facing two counts of third degree animal cruelty in the death of his dog and third degree criminal mischief for causing a substantial interruption in public emergency services.
The indictment alleges that on March 1, Mayer “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.”
Mayer’s dog died after the truck cracked through the ice, while the man safely reached the shoreline, the indictment states.
According to the indictment, Mayer then failed to notify authorities of the incident, resulting in a substantial rescue operation involving the United States Coast Guard Aviation Unit, the New Jersey State Police Aviation and Marine units, local marine units, and multiple local police departments, fire companies, and first aid squads from Toms River, Beachwood, Pine Beach and Island Heights.
Mayer, who is released on his own recognizance to appear in court on a future date, could face five years in state prison on each charge.
Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman is prosecuting the case.
The investigating agencies included the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the Toms River, Pine Beach, Beachwood and Island Heights police departments.