HOWELL – Howell Township Police continue to investigate an incident of animal hoarding that was discovered on East 3rd Street in Howell Township on July 31.
The discovery led to the arrest of Howell resident Ivan Sevastianow, 61, police exclusively told Jersey Shore Online. Police also found that Sevastianow has an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
Police were called to the scene after a New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) employee reported a strong odor of natural gas coming from the house. The police were called and NJNG employees eventually shut off the gas.
While on the scene, the NJNG employees also noticed several cats on the property. Police cleared adjacent residences and called in Southard and Freewood Acres Fire Departments. Officials later deemed the building safe.
Upon entry, police discovered an animal hoarding situation of over 50 cats, one deceased.
“When they arrived on scene they discovered a home with 50+ cats and kittens living in deplorable conditions. Our Animal Control Division was called to the scene and the cats are slowly being caught and transported to our shelter,” stated the Monmouth County SPCA.
The township’s Code Enforcement, Animal Control, Health Department, Building Department, Office of Emergency Management, Monmouth County SPCA, and Associated Humane Society were called to respond.
All of the animals are now being treated for various issues including: mass amounts of fleas, upper respiratory infections, skin infections, and internal parasites. Some of the cats were also found to be pregnant and nursing mothers.
Sevastianow is facing animal cruelty charges.
MCSPCA Chief Licitra and Lt Nuccio responded to the scene and are now in charge of the investigation.