SHAMONG TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — Dozens of dead dogs were found at a woman’s home in Shamong Township on Tuesday, New Jersey State Police say.
According to police, detectives discovered 161 living dogs and 44 dead dogs at the home of 65-year-old Donna Roberts on Oakshade Road while assisting the Burlington County Health Department with an inspection. The deceased animals were found packaged in plastic bags and stored in freezers throughout her residence.
Detectives say there was evidence of animal cruelty inflicted upon the dogs and there was a strong odor of animal feces and ammonia, causing several of the responders to experience dizziness and nausea.
“Although the circumstances surrounding the demise of the 44 dogs that were discovered inside plastic bags in freezers remain under investigation, the deplorable and inhumane living conditions the rescued dogs were forced to endure is tragic,” said New Jersey State Police Col. Patrick Callahan. “Troopers take an oath to protect and safeguard life, including the lives and well-being of pets, which can be vulnerable to abuse.”
Four of the dogs were in critical condition and were transported to an emergency veterinary clinic. The remaining dogs that were found were evaluated and treated at the scene by animal shelter workers.
Roberts was charged with animal cruelty and released pending a court date.
A local farm is acting as a donation center to help the dogs affected.
“I will be opening the farm as a donation center. The box at the end of the driveway that normally collects pumpkins will now be emptied to hold supplies needed for the shelter,” J and M Farm posted on Facebook.
The Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the case.