NJ man abused puppy to death and raised $14K scam donations, cops say
SHAMONG — A township man repeatedly beat up his puppy until it died and duped nearly 700 people online into donating more than $14,000 to help pay for the veterinarian bills, police say.
Reid M. Herjo, 24, was charged last month with animal abuse and theft by deception following a months-long investigation by state and Medford police.
Medford police say Herjo was pulled over on Jan. 22, when police found that he was transporting a 14-week-old German shepherd. Herjo told police that he was taking the puppy to the vet because he had been struck by an ATV.
Days later, however, police learned that little Atlas’ injuries had been intentionally inflicted. The dog had numerous broken bones and bleeding that required surgery, police said.
Police also said that the puppy had suffered serious injuries two other times with Herjo claiming that Atlas had fallen down the steps in December and fallen down a hill in January.
The pup finally died in February “under suspicious circumstances,” police said Tuesday.
Police also said Herjo set up a GoFundMe account that caimed to raised money for Atlas’ vet bills. Police said Herjo lied by saying the dog had been injured in a hit-and-run crash.
The campaign raised $14,065 from 693 donations over a 28-day period, police said.
A record of the campaign is still on the GoFundMe site, which is no longer accepting donations for Herjo.
The website says it will refund donations submitted to fraudulent campaigns.
Herjo could not be reached for comment Tuesday and New Jersey 101.5 did not know whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
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.
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