A New Jersey couple who admitted to dumping a 15-year-old Cocker Spaniel in a trash bag won't get any jail time.
On Tuesday, a judge dropped the 6-month jail sentence that Keith and Shauna Morgan previously received in the neglect case involving Sammy, the Cocker Spaniel they used to own.
Keith Morgan pleaded guilty in August to animal cruelty and filing a false report. He had initially been hailed as a Good Samaritan after claiming he discovered the emaciated dog in a trash bag on the side of the road in Wall Township, New Jersey.
That was before authorities discovered the dog, named Sammy, actually belonged to the couple. The dog has since recovered after spending four weeks at a veterinary hospital and was adopted by another family.
After pleading guilty to animal cruelty, both Keith and Shauna Morgan were sentenced to six months in prison. On Tuesday, the judge threw out the sentence however, claiming it appeared to be "outside the statutory guidelines."
"That's wrong, that's just wrong," said Debbie Dolci, an animal rights advocate. "It's not sending the message that needs to be sent for people with abuse and neglect of animals."
Keith Morgan was instead given a 90 day sentence to be served at home and two years probation. The judge also reduced Shauna Morgan's sentence to a year of probation. The judge cited Keith Morgan's failing health as a factor in his decision.
"They had all the empathy for Mr. Morgan's condition and it seemed they had none at all for what Sammy went through," said Amy Ulness, another animal rights advocate.
Keith and Shauna Morgan will also have to perform community service and pay restitution as well as fines.
"I've got to abide by the court's decision," said Monmouth County SPCA Chief Victor Amato. "Am I happy with the decision? Absolutely not."