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New Jersey man charged with fatally hitting puppy with ax

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Richard Bijacsko, 51, was arrested on animal cruelty charges. (Burlington County SPCA)

Richard Bijacsko, 51, was arrested on animal cruelty charges. (Burlington County SPCA)

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Authorities say they have arrested a New Jersey man with killing a 6-month-old puppy after striking it with the back side of an ax.

The Burlington County SPCA Humane Police said Friday in a statement that 51-year-old Richard Bijacsko, of Springfield, has been arrested and faces animal cruelty and weapons charges.

The dog was found dead Monday in a recycling bin at a motel on Rt. 130 in Florence where its owner was staying.

Police say Bijacsko was caring for the dog because the owner was staying at the motel and wasn’t allowed to keep the dog there. He originally told police that the dog broke free from its leash and was hit by a car.

An investigation showed no evidence to corroborate Bijacsko’s story.

Bijacsko wasn’t able to tell police where he found the dog because he had been drinking.

X-rays showed the injuries the puppy sustained were not consistent with those typically seen in a car accident. The puppy had multiple skull fractures.

After extensive questioning, police arrested Bijacsko after he told them he hit the pit bull puppy twice with the back end of an ax because it was causing problems for him, so he “took him out.”

The owner wasn’t identified.

It’s unclear whether Bijacsko has an attorney.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.