Toms River man faces animal cruelty charge, will represent himself

     Earlier today, authorities removed the pickup truck that plunged through the ice on the Toms River on March 1. (Photo: Ocean County Sheriff's Office)

    Earlier today, authorities removed the pickup truck that plunged through the ice on the Toms River on March 1. (Photo: Ocean County Sheriff's Office)

    A Toms River man whose dog was found dead in a pickup truck that plunged through the ice after he allegedly drove it on the Toms River has told a judge that he will represent himself in the case.

    The Asbury Park Press reports that 27-year-old Toms River resident Andrew Mayer appeared Monday in the town’s municipal court.

    He was charged with third-degree criminal mischief along with reckless driving and pollution following the incident, and now also faces an animal cruelty charge.

    The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals charged Mayer with one count of third-degree failure to provide proper care by recklessly endangering an animal’s life and the animal dying as a result, which is an indictable offense, according to the agency. 

    Authorities have said Mayer’s 2-year-old boxer mix, Rolo, was found dead after the truck sank March 1.

    Another man got out of the truck just before Mayer took it onto the ice, and neither man was injured. Mayer escaped the truck and made it back to land. 

    The incident sparked a search and rescue response from local and state authorities as well as the U.S. Coast Guard. 

    The truck was removed from the river Monday.

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    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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