A Newark chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was ordered to close because it did not prosecute Jayson Williams over accusations he shot and killed his dog in anger over losing a bet.
New Jersey SPCA President Stuart Rhodes, who issued the order, said the Hunterdon County chapter of the SPCA accepted a $500 donation from the former NBA star two weeks after he allegedly shot his Rottweiler at his mansion in August 2001.
A message seeking comment from Tee Carlson, executive director of the Hunterdon SPCA, was not immediately returned yesterday. Carlson told the Star-Ledger newspaper of Newark that the order was being reviewed by the group's lawyer.
"I was looking for her to explain reasons why she didn't prosecute Jayson Williams," Rhodes said. "She should have at least entered the charges. But by doing nothing, she allowed him to walk. And then you accept a donation?"
Williams, 36, was acquitted in April of aggravated manslaughter but found guilty of covering up the fatal shooting of a hired driver at his mansion in February 2002. The jury deadlocked on a reckless manslaughter count; Williams is scheduled to be retried in January.
In New Jersey, the SPCA is vested with the legal power to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty charges. And in July, the state group charged Williams with animal cruelty in civil court. Accusations that he shot his Rottweiler had come to light during jury selection at trial.
The case was brought in civil court because the one-year statute of limitations for a criminal charge of animal cruelty had expired. The civil count carries a maximum fine of $250.
According to court papers, former Nets player Dwayne Schintzius told investigators Williams bet him $100 that Schintzius could not drag Williams's Rottweiler, Zeus, out of his house. Schintzius said he won the bet and Williams killed Zeus with a shotgun.
The former teammate told investigators that Williams later pointed the gun at him and told him to clean up the dog's remains "or you're next."
Williams's attorneys have denied the charge. The trial judge barred the information from being heard by the jury in the manslaughter trial, ruling it was too inflammatory.
-- From News Services