SHAMONG TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) – Members of a South Jersey community demanded answers after an illegal puppy mill was allegedly allowed to operate for years. Residents showed up with a lot of questions for the committee Tuesday night. But, the biggest concern was how the owner could operate for so long, after so many complaints.
“In December when it was blistering cold like in the teens, I just heard puppies crying in the backyard,” said Ernie Lazos.
Back in November law enforcement removed more than 100 living dogs and 44 dead dogs from 65-year-old Donna Roberts home on Oakshade Road in Shamong Township.
“Local public record showed that there was other complaints against her, including the gentleman that sold us the home,” said Lazos.
Tuesday night the Township Committee of Shamong held a public meeting where emotions ran high. Dozens showed up, expecting answers.
“Accept your responsibility, you came in office and got it thrown on you and you didn’t do anything. Who’s lacking common sense here,” said New Jersey Resident against puppy mills Jeanne Clayton.
The complaints against Roberts started back in 2016. The committee said it takes time for legislation to go into effect.
“Passing a bad law takes 60 days, passing a new good law, a constitutional law sometimes takes more time than that,” said a committee member.
Many believe Shamong Township bares some of the blame for the animal lives that were lost in Roberts home.
“I want some good to come out of this but I also want the town to take responsibility and apologize to these people,” said Clayton.
Residents called Robert’s home a puppy mill.
The committee said it’s working to make sure another house of horror doesn’t pop up again.
“This is going to be bad for a little bit but like you said, from a bad situation we are going to get a good situation out of it. It’s going to blow over. Don’t let it happen again,” said Lazos.
Four dogs were found in critical condition, three are still recovering. One of those dogs didn’t make it. Shelters are working to adopt out the rescued dogs.
A criminal investigation continues.