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Northern Valley Daily Voice serves Harrington Park, Haworth, Northvale, Norwood, Old Tappan & Rockleigh

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Northern Valley Daily Voice serves Harrington Park, Haworth, Northvale, Norwood, Old Tappan & Rockleigh

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Plea Deal Gets Norwood Woman $1,500 Fine, Probation For Leaving Dog To Die

Jennifer Caruso (Cook) leaving Central Municipal Court in Hackensack after her plea bargain.
Jennifer Caruso (Cook) leaving Central Municipal Court in Hackensack after her plea bargain. Photo Credit: DAILY VOICE PHOTO: Robike Noll-Faries
Jennifer Caruso (formerly Cook)
Jennifer Caruso (formerly Cook) Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Among the protesters outside the courthouse.
Among the protesters outside the courthouse. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Outside Central Municipal Court in Hackensack.
Outside Central Municipal Court in Hackensack. Photo Credit: DAILY VOICE PHOTO: Robike Noll-Faries
Protesters demand "justice for Sully" outside of Hackensack Municipal Court April 19.
Protesters demand "justice for Sully" outside of Hackensack Municipal Court April 19. Video Credit: Daily Voice

NORTHVALE, N.J. -- A judge in Hackensack fined a Norwood woman $1,500 and sentenced her to six months probation after she pleaded guilty Tuesday to leaving her husband's dog to die when she moved out of their Northvale home.

Jennifer Caruso raised her middle finger when news media members tried to take her photo in court and then left the building shielding her face with a folder.

"The dog is dead! The dog is dead!" shouted a woman after the decision was announced. "She killed the dog!"

Central Municipal Court Judge Lous Dinice ordered Bergen County Sheriff's officers to remove her.

Caruso pleaded guilty to three criminal charges -- abandoning a domestic animal and failing to provide food or water.

Prosecutors, in turn, dropped charges of not providing shelter or vet care in exchange for her plea.

Protesters rallied before Tuesday's hearing, demanding justice for "Sully," a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog who police said ate sofa cushions before dying.

Daily Voice broke the news in late February that Caruso -- formerly Jennifer Cook -- was charged with abandoning a domestic animal and failing to provide food, water, shelter and vet care .

Caruso left her ex-husband's dog behind after the two divorced and she moved to Norwood, authorities said. He was behind bars in the Bergen County Jail on unrelated charges.

Sully's corpse was found on Feb. 18 after police were called to a report of water coming from beneath a garage door and an alarm sounding inside the home at 442 Crest Drive.

They summoned firefighters to gain entry.

Sully "appeared to be left unattended for an extended period of time," Police Chief William Essmann said at the time. "The conditions of the residence were deplorable and it appeared the dog may have eaten the cushions of a sofa in the absence of food."

A necropsy was conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Animal Cruelty Task Force, and the SPCA filed the charges.

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