Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Magic’s Owner Fined $500 for Neglect

By Nick Colin

MagicVILLAS — Magic is a sweet, black and white lab mix, full of energy and life — but that wasn’t always the case. He was left to fend for himself in the elements for a time period that only his owner and possibly her neighbors could know.
Owner Tina Bencibengo failed to provide her pet with adequate living conditions and the means to survive, according to a complaint filed by Animal Control Officer Steve Lonergan. 
 Lonergan was tipped off by an anonymous phone call and he responded immediately.
   He rescued the dog and brought him to the county animal shelter in Crest Haven Jan. 14. Magic was about 25 pounds under weight.
 “I seized the dog from his owner, who had obviously neglected her pet by failing to provide him with food, water, or shelter,” Lonergan said.
Not having a name for the weathered dog, attendants at the shelter called him Magic, perhaps due to his seeming ability to survive his tenure with his owner.
Bencibengo appeared last week in Lower Township Municipal Court.
She was charged with animal cruelty and received a $500 fine and 30 days of community service.
Bencibengo was also forced to relinquish ownership of Magic to the shelter so that he could be adopted.
Over a month after being rescued, Magic, who is about one or two years old, has put on about 10 pounds and he’s “doing just fine,” according to Animal Attendant Kelly Cohen.
“We feed him three times a day,” Cohen said while holding the restless Magic by a leash.
“He is very nice and friendly, but I don’t think he likes men,” she warned, causing this reporter to quickly retract a hand that he had used in an attempt to pet the dog.
Magic is currently in line to be adopted.
Contact Colin at: (609) 886-8600 ext. 35 or

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