Vet tech accused of keeping dog scheduled to be put down pleads guilty
A Monmouth County veterinarian technician accused of keeping a dog for herself that was scheduled to be put down pleaded guilty in court.
Andrea Oliveira pleaded guilty to a local nuisance ordinance in Upper Freehold. She was ordered to pay a $750 fine.
Oliveira admitted to taking Keri Levy's aging dog Caesar home with her instead of euthanizing it after the dog was examined at the Briarwood Veterinary Hospital in Howell in May of 2017.
Levy says that she was tipped off by an anonymous caller five months later telling her that the dog was still alive. Investigators say Oliveira could not produce any further veterinary records while Caesar remained in her care. When Levy was finally reunited with Caesar, an examination showed he further deteriorated and was finally put to sleep.
“I just apologize for how it happened. I’m sorry that I caused you...further pain,” Oliveira said in court.
The Monmouth County SPCA charged Oliveira with animal cruelty. With her guilty plea to the nuisance ordinance, she will avoid any criminal charges.
“We have to accept the resolution and move on and hope this never happens to anyone else ever again,” Levy says.
“I really don't think she meant any ill will toward the animal but in our opinion, that's why we charged accordingly,” says the SPCA’s Thomas Nuccio. “We felt that she should have provided vet care from Day One.”
Briarwood Veterinary Hospital was sold to a new owner. Levy says that that new owner is still struggling with this ordeal, which happened under the previous ownership.
“She has fallen to the brunt of all this. She's an amazing woman,” Levy says. “She has been there for me and my family from the beginning. She cares for our animals still and no one should stop going to that practice."
Oliveira says that she is sorry for what she did, but says that in her heart she still believes that she did the right thing.