Crime and Courts
Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
Crime and Courts

NJ Petting Zoo Owner Indicted on Animal Cruelty Charges

A pig in its pen with other pigs in the background
Pexels/CC

What to Know

  • The owner of a petting zoo where more than 30 pigs were discovered dead and other animals were found sick or injured last summer has been indicted on several animal cruelty charges, authorities said
  • The counts against Dennis Sugar, 47, of Branchville, were handed up late last month by a Sussex County grand jury
  • He was due to be arraigned on the charges last week, but that hearing was rescheduled when Sugar told the judge he planned to hire a new attorney; Sugar has said he plans to plead not guilty, but has declined to discuss the matter at length

The owner of a petting zoo where more than 30 pigs were discovered dead and other animals were found sick or injured last summer has been indicted on several animal cruelty charges, authorities said.

The counts against Dennis Sugar, 47, of Branchville, were handed up late last month by a Sussex County grand jury. He was due to be arraigned on the charges last week, but that hearing was rescheduled when Sugar told the judge he planned to hire a new attorney.

Sugar has said he plans to plead not guilty, but has declined to discuss the matter at length.

Authorities have said the deceased pigs were found on Sugar Sweet Farms in Lafayette last August, along with 14 malnourished pigs that were emaciated. The animals had no food and only dirty water to drink, authorities have said.

A dead goat was found in a hay pile on another part of the property, along with more dead piglets and some goats that had fractured legs and/or parasites, authorities said. Sugar has since moved his operation to a site in Andover

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us