SPRINGFIELD — A 51-year-old resident of this Burlington County township faces animal cruelty charges after admitting to using an ax handle to beat to death a 6-month-old puppy that had been left in his care.

Richard Bijacsko, 51, had been given the pit pull by its owner, who was staying at a motel where dogs were not allowed, the Burlington County Humane Police said Friday.

But the puppy was found dead Monday night in a recycling bucket at a motel on Route 130 in Florence, authorities said.

Bijacsko told township police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that the dog had gotten out of its leash and ran into the road, where it was hit by a car.

Bijacsko said he then dropped off the body with the owner.

Police, however, said they found no evidence on Route 68 of a dog being hit. Bijacsko said he was drunk and couldn't remember the location.

The dead dog was taken to a veterinarian who said that based on X-rays, the injuries did not seem related to a car accident.

Police returned to Bijacsko's home, who then admitted hitting the dog twice with the ax handle, explaining that he "took him out" because the dog had been causing him problems.

He was charged with inflicting unnecessary cruelty to a living creature, cruelly beating a living creature, and causing the death of a living creature.

The Burlington County SPCA Humane Police released a photo of the dead dog.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.

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