FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County Grand Jury has returned an indictment against an Asbury Park man who killed his girlfriend’s Poodle last year, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Friday.

Nicholas C. Winter, 36, is charged with third-degree Animal Cruelty Resulting in Death. 

Shortly before 4 a.m. on Saturday, June 4, 2022, members of the Asbury Park Police Department responded to a residence on the 1400 block of Locust Drive on a report by an adult female that her boyfriend had killed her dog. Inside the residence, the responding officers located the deceased dog, a 12-year-old male named “Bentley.” The victim’s other dog, a 14-year-old female named “Sophia,” was reported missing, but found in the area several hours later.

An investigation led by Detective Anthony Houlis of the Asbury Park Police Department and Lt. Michael Magliozzo of the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) determined that Winter had earlier repeatedly texted his girlfriend, threatening the welfare of her dogs, while she was at work. A necropsy performed on Bentley determined that he died due to blunt-force trauma to the head, neck, and body that ultimately resulted in a fatal traumatic brain injury. Winter was arrested and charged later in June 2022.

This case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Keri Schaefer and Sevan Biramian. Winter is being represented by Tara Breslow-Testa, Esq., and Christopher D. Adams, Esq., both with an office in Red Bank. Convictions on third-degree criminal charges can be punishable by up to five years in state prison.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.