Sammy The Cocker Spaniel’s Original Owners Plead Guilty To Abuse Charges
Keith Morgan of Brick and his wife Shauna have pleaded guilty to animal abuse in a Wall courtroom and face likely jail time.
"Friends of Sammy" supporters packed the court again as Keith Morgan pleaded guilty to guilty to abuse and animal cruelty and filing a false report with police while his wife pleaded guilty on two counts of abuse and neglect reports the Patch of Wall. They face a maximum of six months in prison, three years probation and fines. Charges of abandonment against the couple were dropped.
Sentencing will be at a later date.
“Finally justice was served … it couldn’t have been any better of an outcome,” chief humane law enforcement officer for MSPCA Victor “Buddy” Amato told the Star Ledger. “The dogs can now be permanently in their homes.”
Some of Sammy's supporters cried in joy as the plea agreement was read to the courtroom although not all were pleased with the deal. “I don’t like the plea … I think they had an ironclad case,” Martin Mondoker of Edison told told the Star Ledger. “He should have sentenced them today, end this whole matter, and that would have been it.”
Mondoker is an administrator of the "Sammy the Cocker Spaniel" Facebook page which has served as an unofficial home for information about the case and updates on Sammy's health.
Going into Monday's hearing the Morgans each faced charges of abandonment, failure to provide sustenance and causing unnecessary suffering. Keith Morgan faced a separate charge of interfering with an investigation. Each charge carries a maximum six-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.
Tension in the Courtroom
The judge warned all inside the courtroom to stay calm today after a Sammy supporter, Sharon Schettina, of Staten Island, earned a reprimand from the judge during the Morgan's last hearing when she yelled, “Go kill yourself,” according to the Star Ledger, and was ordered removed by Judge Robert LePore. “I know this is an emotional issue for many of you … I have no problem with that,” LePore said. “You have to keep your emotions in check.”
Keith Morgan brought a badly abused Sammy to the Associated Humane Society in Tinton Falls last spring claiming he had watched a car put a bag with Sammy inside along Belmar Boulevard in Brick.
Further investigation by Amato revealed the dog, which was covered in waste, was actually owned by the Morgans, leading to their arrest on charges of animal cruelty and filing a false report.