Police arrested three New Jersey women accused of placing an electric shock dog collar around their 13-year-old relative’s neck and depriving her of food and clothing for several years.
Karen Villec of Stratford Township, New Jersey, told NBC10 she was inside her home back on March 1 when her 13-year-old neighbor arrived at her doorstep screaming and crying with an electric dog collar around her neck.
“My doorbell’s ringing frantically and I open the door and [she] says, ‘Help me! Help me! Help me! They’re shocking me!’ And because I’m confused, I’m seeing the dog collar, she’s putting it in my hand,” Villec said. “And I said, ‘Is your dog lost?’ And she goes, ‘No! No! They’re shocking me!’ Shows the marks on her neck.”
Villec said the dog collar was still buzzing in her hand. She called police and the girl was taken to the hospital for an evaluation. Police observed the girl had markings around her neck that were consistent with wearing the collar.
“I couldn’t fathom,” Villec said. “You know, who puts a dog collar, first of all, who puts it on their dog? Let alone on a child?”
While being interviewed, the girl told investigators that her three female relatives placed a dog collar around her neck and shocked her multiple times as a form of punishment. She also said the three women would often deprive her of food and clothing.
“I can imagine her getting starved to death,” Villec said. “But all the other people are overweight in the house. So how do you like that?”
New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) was notified and removed the girl from her home after she was released from the hospital.
“She was never returned to the house,” Villec said. “And she’s now in a foster care somewhere in Stratford.”
While being interviewed, the three women denied the girl’s allegations of abuse and neglect. Police also interviewed a witness who lived inside the home where the alleged abuse took place. That witness told police they had seen the three women abuse the girl with a shock collar to punish her whenever she acted “bad.”
The three women were arrested and charged with aggravated assault, child neglect and endangerment. We are not identifying them in order to protect the identity of the 13-year-old girl.
Villec told NBC10 she and her family have had trouble sleeping since last week’s incident.
“For days on end, still, can’t sleep,” she said. “This is what we’re thinking about.”
A court hearing for the three women is scheduled for Friday.
“Personally, have I ever been shocked by a dog collar? No,” Villec said. “But I hope the judge that decides to do this tries it.”