TETERBORO, N.J. – A woman accused of abandoning her blind and deaf dog along a road said she planned to return, but authorities said they believe the woman deserted the animal because she could not pay for veterinary services.
Tania Connelly, 59, is charged with animal cruelty and was issued a summons to appear in court this month, a New Jersey chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.
Roni Wildoner, chief of the Bergen County SPCA, said a motorist in traffic saw the dog being pushed out of a car on a road near Teterboro Airport last Saturday and then took a photo of the car. The photo led investigators to Connelly, Wildoner said.
Connelly told NJ.com Friday that she left her Boston terrier, Bruna, in a grassy area while she went shopping at a nearby Walmart store. "It was not my intention to abandon her. I swear to God," she said. "I was going shopping and it was very hot. I didn't want to leave her inside the car."
"I thought I could leave her there for a half an hour and then come back. When I came back, she was gone," Connolly said.
Connelly said she has had Bruna for eight years and believes the dog is at least 13. She also said the dog has growing medical problems and she cannot afford to pay for them.
The dog was found with no collar or identification tags, Wildoner said. He also noted that the Bergen County Animal Shelter was a quarter mile away from where the dog was found.
Connolly signed a surrender of ownership order after being issued the court summons, Wildoner said. The order will allow the dog to be adopted before the case is resolved, and the dog remained at the Teterboro shelter this week.
Connelly is due to appear Sept. 20 in Bergen County Superior Court in Hackensack.