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NJ Resident Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Animal Cruelty, Pointing a Firearm

Mays Landing

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Authorities in Atlantic County announced that on Thursday, October 19, 2023, Michael Ciarla, 30, of Pleasantville, was sentenced to two consecutive terms in State Prison for aggravated assault and cruelty to animals.

According to officials, in August of 2023, Ciarla pled guilty to fourth-degree aggravated assault by pointing a firearm and third-degree cruelty to animals via torture, resulting in the animal's death.

Judge Bernard E. DeLury, Jr. P.J.Cr. sentenced Ciarla to one year in State Prison without parole for aggravated assault and to a consecutive term of three years in State Prison for animal cruelty via torture, officials stated.

Officials said Ciarla was charged with animal cruelty after a cat with numerous broken bones was brought to the Absecon Veterinary Hospital on November 15, 2021.

The cat, which belonged to Ciarla's girlfriend, had to be humanely euthanized as all of its limbs were broken beyond repair or treatment, authorities say.

Ciarla admitted in his plea that he intentionally slammed the door on the cat multiple times, officials say.

According to officials, a month earlier, on October 20, 2021, Ciarla was charged with aggravated assault after brandishing a .177 caliber BB gun, which was a replica of a .44 caliber revolver handgun, at a man in Absecon.

Authorities say Ciarla placed the gun directly to the back of the victim's head and cocked the gun after the victim tried to walk away from Ciarla.

Officials said Ciarla then fled the scene but was later apprehended after a standoff with police.

Ciarla asked the sentencing court to either reduce the sentences or order both sentences to run concurrent rather than consecutive, officials stated.

Judge DeLury denied Ciarla's requests.