SEASIDE HEIGHTS-Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced the indictment of Nicholas Piccolino, 34, of Seaside Heights, for one count of Animal Cruelty in the 3rd degree for causing serious bodily injury and death to a 10 year-old female Bichon Frise dog named “Booshu”.
The indictment stems from an animal abuse incident reported on August 19, 2016, at approximately 9:55 pm, to the Seaside Heights Police Department. Booshu’s owner alleged that Piccolino, who was alone with the dog in her kitchen, caused the dog’s death. An investigation by NJSPCA Det. Sergeant Larry Donato, with assistance from the Seaside Heights Police Department, determined that during Piccolino’s time alone with Booshu, a resident of the house upstairs heard several loud banging sounds and a dog yelping in the kitchen below. Shortly after, Piccolino notified the dog’s owner that something was wrong with her dog. Booshu’s owner found the dog dead on the floor of the bathroom. Piccolino claimed that Booshu “dirtied” herself in her crate and that while he was cleaning her up, he dropped her.
Booshu was transported to Red Bank Animal Hospital where she was pronounced dead upon arrival. A subsequent necropsy performed on Booshu by Dr. Shannon Swist of the NJ Animal Health Diagnostic Lab found that Booshu suffered multiple blunt force injuries to her head and body which contributed to her death.
On September 13, 2016, having received the necropsy report and having completed witness interviews, Det. Donato presented his findings to Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman who approved Third Degree charges pursuant to NJSA Title 4:22-17c(1) and 4:22-17 c (3)(a) of Torment, torture, unnecessarily or cruelly beating a living animal resulting in their death. Bail was set at the time of his arrest at $35,000.
The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.