The lawyer for Morristown's Director of Human Services—charged with starving his dog—said those alleging the charges did not even do the most fundamental of investigations and that his client is innocent.
Thomas Alexander, 61, was given seven summonses last spring alleging animal cruelty by “failing to provide a living creature with proper sustenance,” according to complaints. Both a lieutenant with the state Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Morristown Animal Control Officer Samantha Judson signed complaints against Alexander.
Alexander's trial is expected to be held Sept. 7 in Rockaway Township Municipal Court.
Morristown-based lawyer Gary Moylen said, despite the charges, Alexander was not in possession of the dog, named Satin, at the time he was starved.
"He had given the dog away two months before because he had moved and everyone knew it," Moylen said. "He had the dog for years. Numerous people had seen him with the dog. He was very attentive with the dog."
Moylen said his client had moved in late October from Manahan Village, which permitted animals, to an apartment that did not permit animals. Without the ability to care for Satin, he gave the dog to a neighbor.
Sometime in late December, Alexander returned to Flagler Street where he saw Satin wandering the street, "and he looked in horrible condition," Moylen said. "He was shocked. So he took the dog with him."
But, Alexander still did not have the ability to take the dog home with him, Moylen said, so he called Animal Control and explained the situation. "She (Judson) took the dog in then promptly turned around and charged him (Alexander) with animal abuse," Moylen said.
Although the state SPCA did its own investigation, the lawyer said they did not do a thorough one, neglecting to interview any of Alexander's former neighbors at Manahan Village, who would have been able to testify to Alexander's treatment of the animal.
"He lived in the middle of a crowded apartment complex," Moylen said. "They didn't even take the fundamental step of talking to the next door neighbor, the other next door neighbor, the upstairs neighbor. They didn't talk to one person in Manahan Village. We're going to bring up half the neighborhood to testify to the otherwise. It's an outrageous type of allegation."
The only charge the lawyer conceded to was that Satin did not have a license. "So, we'll pay the $10 fine," Moylen said.
Judson, the animal control officer, declined comment while the matter is pending.