Man Pleads Guilty to Strangling His Dog

The Highlands man is barred from owning any kind of animal for five years.

An area man who thought he could discipline his growling dog by hanging it from a leash thrown over a closet door has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty. 

Philip N. Hollenbeak, 57, of Sea Drift Avenue, Highlands pleaded guilty to the third-degree charge before Atlantic Highlands Municipal Court Judge Peter A. Locascio. His punishment is a $1,000 fine, and he is barred from any kind of animal ownership for five years. 

According to Monmouth County SPCA Chief Buddy Amato, Hollenbeak was sleeping with his three-year old 130 lb. Chesapeake Bay Retriever when it started growling in the middle of the night.

"He thought cutting off the oxygen supply for a dog was an acceptable way to discipline it, so he took the leash and hung the dog over a closet door," said Amato. The dog was wearing a choke collar.  "He was going to show the dog who was boss." 

The dog died. Hollenbeak went back to bed. 

At 9 o'clock in the morning, Hollenbeak called Highlands Police to ask them to send someone over to pick up the deceased dog. The police alerted the MCSPCA Chief. 

Chief Amato said he did not seek jail time in the case, because Hollenbeak had no prior criminal record. 

Chief Amato has been prosecuting animal cruelty cases for 10 years, and says the public is paying attention. "People are starting to become more aware of the fact that animal cruely has a correlation to other crimes," he said.  

Angry February 28, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Punishment is WAY too light. Pathetic. I'm not an anti-fur PETA freak or anything, but when a human being mindlessly kills a pet animal, then the human being should be punished a lot closer to someone who murders rather than a pathetic fine of $1000. And please, the idiot "thought cutting off the oxygen supply for a dog was an acceptable way to discipline it, so he took the leash and hung the dog over a closet door"??? Come on justice! You'll feel sorry when he feels that cutting off his child's oxygen supply is an appropriate way to discipline as well.
Sally W March 02, 2013 at 05:07 AM
pat March 18, 2013 at 07:09 AM
Agree with what you say, @Angry. But, what's wrong with Anti-Fur? I don't think you want to know how fur coat animals live, or see photos of what they do to them so drama queens can wear fur.


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