In what is being called “the worst hoarding situation” in the area, 276 dogs were seized from a New Jersey home in Monmouth County.
People descended on the home on Friday, after an Associated Humane Society official went to the home on Thursday to inquire about a loose dog near Bennett Road in Howell, N.J. Knocking on the door, the owners, Charlene and Joseph Handrick, did not respond, but it is reported the official heard many dogs barking inside, while also smelling a foul odor. He reported the incident to Monmouth County SPCA, who went on to contact authorities.
Arriving at the home, officers were told by the owners that there were 80 dogs in the home. Upon entering, officers were blown away by the smell, number of animals and the inhumane conditions the dogs were living in.
Many were sitting on bookshelves, with one specially built as some sort of “hamster cage for dogs,” Tierney Park, a Monmouth Sheriff’s deputy, told NBC New York. “They have steps that go up to the shelf and there were dogs looking down and barking.”
Others were found under beds and some even living between walls. Many were extremely frightened, as they had never come in contact with the outside world.
In total 276 dogs were rescued, all smaller breeds, including pugs, Yorkies and Chihuahuas, along with mixes. One dog was in the midst of giving birth, while about 20 others are pregnant.
As the dogs were being pulled out of the home, owner Charlene was crying, calling the dogs “my family.”
Despite the deplorable conditions, most of the dogs are in fair condition.
The Handricks are cooperating with law enforcement and charges will depend on circumstances and facts.
If you would like to help the dogs, the SPCA is looking for monetary donations (requesting $20 a dog), along with small- and medium-sized crates, blankets, towels and dog food (more information can be found here).
The dogs will be made available for adoption when they’re ready. If interested, contact St. Hubert’s at 973-377-7094, the Associated Humane Society of Monmouth at 732-922-0100 or the Monmouth SPCA at 732-542-0040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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