United Poultry Concerns May 30, 2003

Urge that Three New Jersey Men Charged with Bludgeoning Birds to Death at the Popcorn Park Zoo Be Prosecuted for Cruelty to Animals

“They really didn’t seem remorseful.”
--Manchester Township Police Detective Joseph Hankins

Matthew C. Ronneberg, 18, Thomas J. Cavanaugh, 18, and Matthew J. Mercuro, 18, were arrested on May 21, 2003, for bludgeoning to death three emus, three ducks, and two rheas (flightless birds in the same family as emus and ostriches) on Monday, May 19th. According to the Associated Press (5/23), “[t]he birds were found dead in their pens Monday morning. One duck’s eye was gouged out; the emus had their windpipes crushed and jugular veins slashed, in addition to being beaten on their heads. “They suffered immensely,’ said veterinarian Sherry Podhayny.’”

According to the Associated Press, the killing spree apparently began at Wells Mills Park, “where the three attacked a duck or goose, hitting it with a rock and kicking it.” (This bird is said to have survived the attack.)

Each of these “teenagers” was charged with eight counts of cruelty to animals and one count each of burglary, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief for the attack. Each count of cruelty and criminal mischief is punishable by up to 18 months in prison.

What Can I Do?

Urge that these animal abusers be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Contact:
Prosecutor Thomas F. Kelaher
Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor
119 Hooper Avenue
Toms River, NJ 08753
Ph: 732-929-2027
Fax: 732-506-5088
(No email address)


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
FAX: 757-678-5070

Home | What's New? | News Releases | Action Alerts | PoultryPress | Resources | Merchandise | Links | E-mail