N.J. man indicted for allegedly beating dog to death

Bella, a 2-year-old pit bull, was beaten to death in a wooded area of Egg Harbor Township.

An Egg Harbor Township man has been indicted on animal cruelty charges for allegedly killing a dog earlier this year.

Investigators said Steven Geisel, 50, beat a female pit bull with a blunt object Jan. 29 in a wooded area behind the Norms-Dale Mobile Home Park near Ocean Heights Avenue. The dog suffered traumatic neck injuries that ultimately proved fatal, according to officials.  

The ensuing case galvanized the animal rescue community in South Jersey. An online petition and corresponding Facebook page calling for justice in the dog’s killing garnered more than 4,000 supporters.

Geisel, of the 2000 block of Ocean Heights Avenue, was arrested Feb. 12 following an investigation by Egg Harbor Township police and officials with the Atlantic County SPCA. At least two other dogs were removed from Geisel's mobile home and have since been rehabilitated and re-homed, according to the SPCA. 

An Atlantic County grand jury last Wednesday indicted Geisel on one count of animal cruelty. He remained jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail at the Atlantic County Justice Facility, where he has been imprisoned since his arrest, investigators said.

If convicted of the third-degree charge, Geisel faces a maximum possible penalty of three to five years in state prison.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or awigglesworth@philly.com. Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.