PRINCETON TOWNSHIP — A man who represented himself as a dog trainer has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly beating and killing a dog entrusted to his care, officials said.
Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Casey DeBlasio said Michael Rosenberg, a Princeton Township resident, was charged this month with six counts of animal cruelty for an event on Aug. 28 that resulted in the death of a German shepherd-mix owned by Tracy Stanton, a Lawrence resident.
The dog suffered several broken ribs and later died from the injury, Stanton said.
Rosenberg declined to comment for this story.
Stanton said she left her dog Shyanne with Rosenberg after a friend told her that he was a talented dog trainer. Her dog had nipped someone and needed professional training to prevent it from happening again, she said.
“My friend knew Michael was training other dogs and that his dogs were very well trained,” she said.
On Aug. 26, Stanton took Shyanne to Community Park to meet Rosenberg and some of the dogs he owned or was working with. Rosenberg persuaded Stanton to leave Shyanne with him so that she could get her accustomed to the pack, Stanton said.
“I didn’t agree with some of the things he was saying,” Stanton said. “But he was very charismatic and convincing. He convinced me that it was the best thing for her and that he could fix it.”
Stanton, an attorney and an animal advocate, said her normally well-behaved dog started to show signs of “fear aggression” after Stanton changed residences multiple times.
On Aug. 28, two days after Stanton left Shyanne in Rosenberg’s care, Stanton said she received a phone call from Rosenberg asking if her dog had heartworm, and that he thought her dog needed to go to the vet.
“He wasn’t being specific,” she said, indicating that Rosenberg didn’t fully explain what was wrong.
Stanton said she hung up the phone with Rosenberg and made an appointment at the Princeton Animal Hospital for later that evening. But when she called Rosenberg back to tell him about the appointment, he told her someone needed to pick up the dog right away, she said.
Because Stanton works in Manhattan, she called her boyfriend to pick up Shyanne from Rosenberg’s house, she said.
Stanton said that her boyfriend arrived at Rosenberg’s house within 15 minutes of the phone call and found Shyanne unresponsive but still breathing, on Rosenberg’s front porch.
Because the Princeton Animal Hospital didn’t know what was wrong with Shyanne, they suggested the dog be taken to North Star Emergency Vet Hospital in Robbinsville, Stanton said.
But Shyanne stopped breathing before they got there, she said.
When Stanton arrived at the hospital, she noticed Shyanne’s paws were scraped and bloody. And while she sat there, sorting out her emotions, she said the lawyer in her kicked in.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to send her for a necropsy,’” she said, giving the veterinary word for an autopsy. “She could have had a heart attack or a stroke.”
But the results showed that Shyanne had four broken ribs and a punctured lung resulting from a blunt-force trauma.
“We are still in absolute shock,” Stanton said. “What happened to Shyanne is horrifying and sick and has completely shaken me to my core.”
Stanton said she hopes that animal owners will learn from her story.
“I can only hope to raise awareness for pet owners to thoroughly perform due diligence and verify references before trusting the care of your companion animal to anyone,” she said. “Including those who are or claim to be in the dog caring service industry.”
Rosenberg has not yet received a scheduled court date.
As a personal note, upon looking up his name I found that he is also a registered sex offender. This person obviously shows all the signs of someone that needs to be taken off the streets.
you can contact the Mercer County Prosecutor - 609-989-6350 and let them know your feelings. Be smart & concise, not crude or foul mouthed. This scumbag needs to be put away before anyone or any more animals are hurt by him.