Women Charged In Animal Hoarding Case Seek Ownership Of “Personal Dogs”

Several people file into the court room for the hearing of the two women charged for animal cruelty. (Photo by Alyssa Riccardi)

  BRICK – Two women who have been charged for hoarding 180 dogs and cats in a Brick Township home have now asked officials not to put their “personal dogs” up for adoption.

  Aimee J. Lonczak, 49, and Michele Nycz, 58, were charged with animal cruelty and child endangerment in December after authorities discovered nearly 180 animals in cages in a home on Arrowhead Park Drive. Cats and dogs were found in cages, standing in their own feces and urine. Officials deemed these living conditions uninhabitable and the home was condemned by Brick Township code enforcement.

  In addition, Lonczak’s 16-year-old daughter was living in the home among the grime along with the 180 animals. 

  On December 8, the two women were released following a detention hearing. The judge subsequently set several rules prior to their release, which includes mandatory check-ins with the court as well as no contact with Lonczak’s daughter and no contact with the animals. At the time, they were also not permitted to return to their home.

  On January 10, the two women had an initial court hearing with one of their major requests being to have their personal dogs returned to them.

  According to Lonczak and Nycz, a total of seven dogs found in the home were their “personal dogs” and both filed motions to have them released back into their care.

  Assistant Prosecutor Alexander Becker who was representing the state said that all the dogs were already surrendered. Dogs and cats that were found in the home are currently being set up for adoption or measures are being taken to find their original owners.

Aimee J. Lonczak and Michele Nycz (Photos courtesy Ocean County Jail)

  The judge stated that Lonczak and Nycz must be able to pay the expenses of housing the dogs and veterinary fees. At this time, the judge did not approve or deny Lonczak and Nycz their rights to their personal dogs, and a motion on this matter will be heard on January 24.

  Additionally, Nycz filed a motion to stay in the home of the 16-year-old’s grandmother, who has custody of the child. The state opposed this motion due to the “child’s safety.” After hearing both sides, the judge denied the motion.

  The state’s attorney requested an adjournment to complete discovery. This will be back in court on March 14 regarding the criminal charges.

  At the January 10 court hearing, several concerned citizens attended to hear the potential fate of the seven “personal” dogs. One of the many people there was Dianne Silva, from the Friends of The Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter. The Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter took in several dogs and cats from the hoarding incident.

  “I’m disappointed that the judge did not go against them getting those seven dogs. They’re accused of animal abuse. They should not ever have another dog, cat, or another animal as long as they live. If you saw what they came from… It’s heartbreaking.” Silva said.