Animal Cruelty Charges After Grim Discovery In A House

Photo courtesy Shamong Police

SHAMONG – A Shamong woman has been charged with animal cruelty after officials found more than 100 dogs living in poor conditions in and around her Oakshade Road home.

Detectives from the New Jersey State Police Red Lion Station assisted the Burlington County Health Department in an inspection of the property Nov. 13. Officials found evidence of animal cruelty. The residence stank of dog feces and ammonia and caused several officers to get sick.

Authorities also discovered 130 living dogs, and 44 dead dogs packed in plastic bags and stored in freezers throughout the home.

Four dogs in critical condition were taken to an emergency veterinary clinic. The remaining live dogs were evaluated and treated on the scene.

“Although the circumstances surrounding the demise of the 44 dogs that were discovered inside plastic bags in freezers remain under investigation, the deplorable and inhumane living conditions the rescued dogs were forced to endure is tragic,” Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police said. “Troopers take an oath to protect and safeguard life, including the lives and well-being of pets, which can be vulnerable to abuse.”

“The BCPO was aware of the inspection to be conducted by the Burlington County Health Department pursuant to Shamong Township’s recently adopted ordinance concerning the housing of animals,” Scott Coffina, Burlington County Prosecutor, said. “When contact with the occupant raised concerns about the welfare of animals on the property, we sought a search warrant, which was then executed by the State Police. We are appalled by the horrendous conditions these dogs were subjected to, and as a result I authorized charges against the property owner, Donna Roberts. I would like to commend the State Police for their professionalism and compassion, and thank the Burlington County Health Department and the many volunteers for the outpouring of support to provide for the care for these dogs.”

Roberts was released and a court date is pending.