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Three New Jersey women put girl, 13, in electric dog collar for years, prosecutors say

A neighbor said the child arrived at her doorstep screaming and crying with the collar around her neck.
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Three New Jersey women have been arrested, accused of abusing a 13-year-old girl by putting an electric dog collar around her neck to repeatedly shock her and depriving her of food and clothes. 

The teen said she was placed in the collar when she was as young as 9 years old and in fourth grade, according to an affidavit of probable cause from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office. 

The three Stratford Township women, who NBC News is not naming to protect the identity of the child, are 42, 22 and 20 years old. They've been charged with aggravated assault, child neglect and endangerment in the case.

A neighbor called police on March 1 to report the child in the dog collar, according to the affidavit.

Karen Villec of Stratford Township told NBC Philadelphia that the child arrived at her doorstep screaming and crying with the 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!’" Villec said. "And because I’m confused, I’m seeing the dog collar, she’s putting it in my hand. And I said, ‘Is your dog lost?’ And she goes, ‘No! No! They’re shocking me!’ Shows the marks on her neck.”

The Stratford Police Department responded and found the child “had markings on her neck consistent with wearing the collar,” the affidavit said.

The child was taken to Jefferson Stratford Hospital to be assessed for other injuries. 

The child disclosed to police that the 20-year-old woman put the collar around her neck and shocked her “multiple times” and “has done this in the past,” the affidavit stated.

New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency was notified and removed the child from the residence after she was medically cleared at the hospital.

When police contacted the 42-year-old woman in the home, she denied knowing anything about the shock collar, the charging documents stated.

In another police interview with the child the following day, she disclosed that the 20-year-old first put the collar on her when she was in fourth grade and detailed accounts where the 42-year-old woman and the 22-year-old had also used the dog shock collar as forms of punishment, the affidavit said.

She further detailed occasions in which she was deprived of “appropriate amounts of food and clothing amenities.”

The women all denied the allegations of abuse and neglect, according to the affidavit.

A witness who lives in the same residence also disclosed to police that they observed the dog shock collar used on the child numerous times in the past as a form of punishment when the child acts “bad,” charging documents said.

Stratford Police Department Chief Ronald Morello said the women remain in the Camden County Correctional Facility awaiting a detention hearing Friday at 9 a.m.

Lawyer information for the women was not immediately available.