A New Jersey man has been accused of fraud and animal abuse after police became suspicious that he had intentionally injured his dog and created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the vet bills. The page had raised over $14,000 but has now been shut down and the website clarified that the man in question has been permanently banned.
Police first became suspicious after they pulled Reid Herjo, aged 24, over because of speeding. They found the injured 14-week-old Atlas in the back seat and Reid told them he was rushing the dog to the vet after it had suffered injuries from an ATV.
He beat a puppy to death, and tried to make money off its pain, cops say https://t.co/pn5gd9OM62— PennLive.com (@PennLive) April 11, 2018
Atlas died a less than a week later from haemorrhages. He had multiple fractures at the time. Police reveal that Reid had the dog for a total of three months and during that time the dog suffered at least three separate periods of severe injury. In other words, Atlas suffered repeated attacks that resulted in broken bones and internal bleeding. The repeated incidents of sustained trauma are not consistent with a dog experiencing a single hit-and-run on a single issue.
Authorities now say that Atlas died “under suspicious circumstances as there was evidence Atlas sustained additional trauma.”
Throughout these three months Reid maintained a GoFundMe page where he asked people for donations to cover Atlas’ injuries caused by the supposed ATV attack. However, police now allege that Reid actually repeatedly injured Atlas over the three month period and created the GoFundMe page to fraudulently collect money from concerned internet users. He closed the GoFundMe page the day the dog died. He has since been arrested and charged with animal abuse and theft by deception.
The German shepherd pup was just 14 weeks old. https://t.co/cBZBCuZKDU— azcentral (@azcentral) April 11, 2018
GoFundMe is a crowdfunding website where people set a target and petition internet users to contribute to the monetary goal. People can create pages to raise money for charity, movies, video games, political campaigns, hospital bills, and much, much more. The website, however, can be open to exploitation. In one example, a 6-year-old girl passed away in the UK and an unknown person created a fake page to raise funds for her funeral costs while claiming to be a close relative. The page was quickly shut down, but the attempt highlights how opportunistic criminals can use GoFundMe pages to try and obtain money fraudulently.