A Medford, New Jersey, man who started a GoFundMe for his German Shepherd’s veterinary bills is accused of causing the injuries that ultimately led to the puppy’s death.
According to NJ.com, Reid M. Herjo, 24, is accused of collecting more than $14,000 for his dog Atlas’ recovery from a hit-and-run ATV accident when he actually had beat the 14-month-old dog to death.
Police said the scam came to light after they pulled Herjo over for speeding on January 22. At the time, Herjo claimed he was rushing Atlas to the hospital after the supposed accident.
Atlas reportedly died on February 3 from hemorrhaging and various fractures and injuries. Police said they learned on January 27 that the dog’s injuries were not consistent with the ATV story Herjo provided.
[Image: Atlas/KYW video screengrab]
“It was also determined that in the short time, six weeks, that Reid M. Herjo had Atlas, he sustained injuries on two additional occasions. Reid M. Herjo reported that Atlas was injured in December from falling down the stairs and in January from falling down a hill,” Medford police wrote in a statement Tuesday.
According to the Courier Post, Atlas died while in Herjo’s care. Police noted that evidence suggested the dog suffered injuries other than the ones Herjo reported.
Police also accused Herjo creating the GoFundMe under the false pretense that Atlas was injured in the hit-and-run accident. The campaign raised $14,065 before it was shut down. GoFundMe told KYW that all 693 donations will be refunded.
The Medford man was charged March 28 with animal cruelty and theft by deception. A court hearing is pending.
[Featured Image: Atlas/GoFundMe]