Andrew Mayer, a 29-year-old Toms River man who stirred anger statewide after driving his pickup truck on the icy Toms River, then leaving his dog in the car after he escaped the sinking vehicle, was sentenced to a six-month jail term Friday.
Mayer, who pleaded guilty in September, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge James Blaney to 180 days in the Ocean County Jail. Prosecutors had sought a 364-day sentence on charges of animal cruelty.
“He agreed with the state that some incarceration is appropriate for the reckless act that lead to a large rescue operation and caused the demise of his dog, Rolo,” said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Blanet did not sentence Mayer to any probation. He did order him to pay $1,000 restitution to each of the two agencies seeking restitution, the New Jersey State Police and Toms River Fire District No. 1, as he felt Mayer should “take some financial responsibility for his actions,” said Della Fave.
State police had asked for $6273.76 in restitution and the fire district asked for $8,370.60.
The judge did not deem a ban on companion ownership as necessary in this case, as Mayer “expressed remorse and his acts were deemed reckless and no intent to harm his dog,” said Della Fave. “He was also sentenced to pay minimum fines of $155.”
County Sheriffs officers took custody of Mayer and he was escorted to the County Jail. The related Criminal Mischief in the third degree charge and pollution of water summons were dismissed as part of the sentence.
The case stems from Mayer’s actions on March 1, 2015, when he drove his pickup truck onto the ice of the Toms River. But at one point, he drove over an area of thin ice and the truck fell through. Mayer escaped, but the dog, a boxer mix, was trapped in the car and did not survive.