MEDFORD TOWNSHIP, N.J. – A German shepherd was mortally abused by its owner to dupe donors. The New Jersey man tugged on heartstrings of charitable individuals to raise thousands of dollars for his beloved injured dog. However, he was actually the cause of the canine’s pain, beating the German shepherd regularly until it died, officials said.
Reid Herjo, 24, was caught by police in the cruel lie after he was pulled over for speeding in late January, police said in a Facebook post.
Herjo told the officers he was rushing his 14-week-old German shepherd, named Atlas, to the veterinarian because the dog had been run over by an ATV while Herjo was walking it.
However, five days later police received information that Herjo was the one behind Atlas’ injuries.
By then, Herjo had set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Atlas’ medical bills. He said the pup suffered from injuries caused by a hit-and-run crash.
As a result, the accused conman reeled in 693 donors, who contributed a total of $14,065. The donations were made during a 28-day period.
Police said they eventually discovered Herjo abused the dog on at least two other occasions within six weeks. Herjo, however, said the dog fell down the stairs and down a hill in two separate incidents.
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The dog suffered hemorrhaging and several fractures that required surgery. Finally, Atlas died on Feb. 3. The death was considered suspicious. Moreover, additional evidence reportedly revealed the dog suffered additional trauma.
Herjo was arrested March 28 and charged with third degree animal cruelty and third degree theft by deception, reported Fox News. His Burlington County Superior Court hearing is pending.