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CONTACT: Al Della Fave
Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
P.O. Box 2191
Toms River, NJ  08753
Phone: (732) 288-7616
Cellular: (732) 814-7347

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced that Nicholas Piccolino, 34, of Seaside Heights, pled guilty yesterday (5/22) before Judge James M. Blaney, J.S.C., to one count of Cruelty to Animal 3rddegree for causing serious bodily injury and death to a 10 year-old female Bichon Frise dog named “Booshu”.  His sentencing is tentatively scheduled for July 7, 2017.

Piccolino, upon entering his plea, minimized how he caused Booshu’s death by saying he threw her to the ground when she bit him.  He gave this same explanation to the victim/owner after the crime.  Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman put on the record that the Necropsy report stated that Booshu had multiple rib fractures on both sides of her body, multiple bruises all over her body and broken and missing teeth.  Piccolino admitted that Booshu was only about 15 pounds and his actions caused all the injuries to Booshu, and caused her death.

The case and subsequent guilty plea 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 that 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.  He remains incarcerated in Ocean County Jail pending sentencing.

Nicholas Piccolino

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