Suffocation of her dog, cruelty and abandonment
Fair Lawn, NJ
March 1, 2001
Margaret Kaplan charged with unnecessary cruelty leading to the death of an animal and abandonment.
An autopsy revealed that Missy died from lesions on the lungs and a buildup of blue blood in the nostrils and lungs, which are signs of suffocation. The collie mix was found in a pile of leaves with its legs and snout bound with surgical tape.
Kaplan told investigators that she was driving Missy from their temporary home to a veterinarianís office when the dog died on March 1st about 5 pm. According to Kaplan the dog was in distress with a stomach disorder. She then wrapped surgical tape around the dogís snout and legs and left it at the end of a roadway in county owned Dunkerhook Park. She said she bound the dog to give it some kind of dignity.
The body was found, still warm, about 9 am leading to discrepancies between Kaplanís time and the time the body was found and the autopsy results made investigators suspicious.
Kaplan had recently moved to a condominium complex where pets were not permitted.
There were no identifying tags on the dog when found but investigators noticed that portions of her stomach and paw had been shaved indicating an ultrasound had been performed recently. Using this only clue investigators called every facility in the area that performs these procedures looking for a dog that fit the description and eventually found a match.
The vet that did treat this animal said there was no reason for this dog to die.
Kaplan has not requested custody of the dogís remains and if convicted faces fines of community service and fines up to $1000 or up to six months in prison for the death of Missy, her pet of ten years.
The Morris Bureau
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