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No Jail in Sammy the Cocker Spaniel Case

A judge has overturned six-month jail sentences for a Brick couple in an animal cruelty case.

Sammy the Cocker Spaniel
Sammy the Cocker Spaniel (Red Bank Veterinary Hospital via Facebook)

The judge on Tuesday sentenced 56-year-old Keith Morgan to 90 days of house arrest and five days of community service. His wife, Shauna Kennedy-Morgan, received a year probation and 30 days of community service.

Toms River Superior Court Judge James Blaney agreed with arguments made by Keith Morgan’s attorney Kevin F. Sheehy that he was “physically and mentally disabled” in changing his sentence, according to Brick Patch. Sheehy told the court that Morgan was overwhelmed by having kidney disease when Shauna left him in 2012 and he could not care for the dog now known as Sammy.

Keith Morgan apologized to the court. “Sammy was a wonderful dog that didn’t deserve this,” Keith Morgan said in  prepared statement. “Sammy, I’m sorry. Again I’m sorry for what I have done.” Many of the supporters of Sammy in the court shook their heads at this.

Shauna Morgan’s attorney, Charles Berkeley, argued that Shauna was not in the home during the time that Sammy was abused. “She should have acted sooner, but didn’t,” said Berkeley according to the Patch. “It was an overwhelming situation. There was never any intention to do harm to this dog.”

Blaney also lifted a restriction against future pet ownership.

The Asbury Park Press reports about 35 people voiced their opposition to the ruling.

The couple admitted dumping the 15-year-old cocker spaniel in a trash bag along a road in Wall Township. Keith Morgan had initially been hailed as a Good Samaritan after claiming he had discovered the dog in a trash bag on the side of the road. But authorities discovered the dog was registered to someone in the couple’s home.

The dog has since recovered and is living with another family.


The Associated Press contributed to this report

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