Lyft driver charged after dog thrown into street in Montclair road rage
MONTCLAIR — A now-banned Lyft driver from Upper Montclair is facing a criminal charge related to a road-rage incident in which a dog was thrown from a vehicle.
Marc Dionne, 22, was charged Tuesday with two counts of animal cruelty involving torture and torment of a living creature. One of those charges was filed as a fourth-degree indictable offense in Superior Court.
The charges were filed Tuesday by the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has jurisdiction over animal abuse cases across the state.
The agency's investigation was prompted by video of the encounter posted on the internet.
The NJSPCA says that after a confrontation with another driver, Dionne reached into the other driver's vehicle, grabbed the 12-year-old miniature pinscher named Daphne and "aggressively" tossed the dog into the sidewalk on Bloomfield Avenue.
The dog then ran back into the road toward the car.
An NJSPCA spokesman on Monday said that the dog had survived and was recovering.
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Dionne's mother told CBS New York that her son was the victim.
“Unfortunately without thinking, Marc was trying to get the guy away from him, and therefore he reached into the car. He’s not an animal hater, he’s an animal lover,” CBS New York quoted her as saying.
Alexandra LaManna, a spokeswoman for Lyft, said Monday that the driver wasn’t on a trip for Lyft at the time.
“We are shocked and horrified by what we saw in this video,” she wrote in an email to New Jersey 101.5. “While this did not happen on the Lyft platform, we permanently deactivated the individual after learning of his truly cruel behavior; he will never again be able to use Lyft.”
She said Lyft was ready to work with local authorities investigating the incident.
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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.