SEASIDE HEIGHTS — Police have arrested a 33-year-old man in connection with the beating death of a 10-year-old dog.

Nicholas Piccolino of Seaside Heights is facing third degree charges of torment, torture, unnecessary torment, torture and unnecessarily or cruelly beating a living animal resulting in their death.

According to  Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, the owner of the dog — a female bichon frise named Booshu — alleges that Piccolino was alone in her kitchen with the dog and caused the animal's death.

The incident was reported to Seaside Heights police on Aug. 19 at about 9:55 p.m. The allegations were investigated by NJSPCA Detective Sgt. Larry Donato who determined that while Piccolino was alone with Booshu, another resident living in the home was upstairs and heard "several loud banging sounds and a dog yelping in the kitchen below."

A short time later, Piccolino told the dog's owner that something appeared to be wrong with the animal. The owner then found Booshu dead on the floor of the bathroom. When the owner inquired about what had happened, Piccolino told her that the dog "dirtied" herself and that as he was attempting to clean her off, he dropped her.

The dog was rushed to Red Bank Animal Hospital, but she was pronounced dead upon arrival. A necropsy was done on the dog to determine the exact cause of death. The investigation showed that Booshu had suffered several blunt force injuries to both her head and body and those injuries contributed to the dog's death.

Police continued the investigation, speaking to witnesses and reviewing the necropsy report. On Tuesday, Piccolino was arrested on the cruelty charges and transported to Ocean County Jail in default of $35,000 bail.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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