SHAMONG, N.J. (CBS) — A fire destroyed a dog kennel on the same Shamong property where dozens of dead dogs were found in freezers in 2018. Fire crews were called to the 500 block of Oakshade Road, around 10:30 a.m. Friday.
Investigators were on the scene for hours, following this morning’s kennel fire. While the blaze was shocking enough, this is not the first time the owner, Donna Roberts, has been under investigation.READ MORE: Police: 9-Year-Old Boy Shot When Gunman Fires Into Olney Home
The infamous kennel is no more, after it burst into flames. While officials confirmed that no dogs were on the property at the time, flames still warranted a response from the state fire marshal.
“There were state troopers, and there was Evesham Township, Indian Mills, Shamong, Tabernacle, all the fire companies were out here and no one else went into the home,” said Ashlee Silpath with Champs Doghouse.
The fire marshal had a difficult time gaining access, saying Roberts refused to let them inside her home. They had to obtain a warrant.
Burlington County prosecutors say the address is a known puppy mill and breeding site. Eyewitness News was at the property in 2018 when Roberts was arrested, after 160 dogs were rescued from living in deplorable conditions, and 44 dogs found dead in freezers.READ MORE: Byron McDonald II Suspected In Killing 2-Year-Old Son's Mother, Grandmother, Police Say
In December 2019, there were new allegations of animal abuse at the home when neighbors heard dogs bark and whimper after being left out in the cold overnight. Several dogs were rescued. A family member was issued a summons for animal cruelty.
Silpath is waiting to rescue any dogs that may need it.
“I believe there’s dogs in there, I do. The rescues believe there’s dogs in there. She’s been reported several times since her rating. It’s her and, I think, her daughter and son-in-law are all involved, absolutely. It’s just unfortunate,” Silpath said.
As part of Roberts’ earlier legal woes, she’s not allowed to own any dogs or cats while her case is pending trial. She was previously indicted on animal cruelty charges.
Officials say the cause of today’s fire remains under investigation.MORE NEWS: Buena Community Rallies To Save Suspended Landisville Volunteer Fire Company From Permanent Shutdown
CBS3’s Alecia Reid contributed to this report.