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Man Steals, Beats Dog Over Barking
FREEHOLD -- A Lakewood man stole his neighbor's dog, kept the animal gagged and tethered in a wooded area of Howell for days and beat it with a shovel because its barking was "aggravating" him, he told police.
Jeffrey R. Babilya, 43, of Towers Street, was arrested Tuesday evening after he was summoned to the Howell Police Department and questioned, Howell Patrolman Ryan Hurley said.
Bastion, a springer spaniel who weighs between 30 and 40 pounds, was treated yesterday at the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital for head trauma, dehydration, lacerations and wounds around its mouth and ears, said Pat Malone, general manager of Associated Humane Societies, Tinton Falls, where the animal initially had been brought for treatment. Bastion is expected to recover, Malone said.
Babilya admitted to police that he stole the dog, age unknown, from his neighbor, John Dulany, and immediately drove it to and secured it in a wooded area behind a David Lane residence in Howell. He returned Tuesday and beat the animal with a shovel because he needed for it to stop barking, Hurley said Babilya told police.
Dulany had reported his dog missing to Lakewood police on Friday night, Lakewood Detective Capt. Robert Lawson said. Lakewood police questioned Babilya that night, and he told police he hadn't been home, Lawson said.
Dulany could not be reached for comment yesterday. Hurley said yesterday he spoke with Dulany, who was relieved his dog had been found and thanked the witnesses who intervened.
At 6:38 p.m Tuesday, David Lane resident Lisa Siko observed Babilya in the woods behind her home beating the white and brown dog that was barking and yelping, Howell Sgt. John Storrow said. Siko confronted Babilya and he fled, Hurley said.
Babilya emerged from the opposite side of the woods, in an industrial complex, where another witness, William Young, saw him with a short-handled shovel, Hurley said. Young also confronted Babilya about what he was doing to the dog, but Babilya told him it wasn't his dog and fled in a van, Hurley said.
Based on a description of the van, Howell police canvassed businesses in the industrial complex and learned Babilya worked part-time in one of them and that he drove a van matching the description police had, Hurley said. Authorities then contacted Babilya and summoned him to the police department.
He was charged with animal cruelty and receiving stolen property. Monmouth County's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals assisted in the interview and arrest of Babilya.
When asked why he did it, Babilya told police the dog's barking had been aggravating him, Hurley said. The day he struck the dog with the shovel, he was finishing work, heard the dog barking and said he needed to stop the dog from barking, Hurley said. When police found the dog, it was severely injured and timid, Hurley said. It was bleeding from the nose and head and was attached to a steel cable in the brush, Storrow said. Duct tape was wrapped around its head and the cable was entangled in its ears. It was wearing ownership tags.
Charges are pending in Lakewood, Lawson said. He said Dulany had arrived home from work Friday night to discover his dog missing from his yard as well as a cable run the dog used. The cable appeared to have been yanked from the ground, Lawson said. However, the gates had remained closed.
Babilya remained in Monmouth County Jail, Freehold Township, yesterday afternoon on $3,500 bail, with a 10 percent option, according to the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office.
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