- Associated Press - Monday, August 11, 2014

HOLMDEL, N.J. (AP) - A dog that suffered serious injuries when it apparently was thrown out of a moving car on the Garden State Parkway last weekend had been taken without its owner’s consent, officials said Monday.

But it’s still not clear who took the animal or why it was taken.

The dog left a veterinary hospital with its owners early Monday afternoon, but officials say the animal still has a long recovery ahead.

The owners are not suspected of any involvement in the incident, officials said, and their names were not released. However, the owners did issue a statement through the hospital, thanking “everyone who has been so supportive and diligent in helping our girl.”

The incident in which the dog was injured happened between noon and 1 p.m. Saturday, in the southbound express lanes of the highway near Exit 116 in Holmdel Township.

After landing on the roadway, the brown female mixed terrier was struck by another car.

A good Samaritan who saw what happened stayed with the dog and also called state police. A trooper rushed the dog to the veterinary hospital, where doctors were able to stop its internal bleeding and treat other injuries.

Officials are still trying to determine if the dog was thrown from the vehicle or if it jumped out a window. If the investigation determines the dog was intentionally thrown from the vehicle, the driver and/or the person responsible could be charged with an indictable crime and face up to six months in jail.

A $1,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.