More than 200 dogs have been rescued from a New Jersey home in what local authorities are calling one of the worst animal hoarding cases they have ever seen.
According to the Asbury Park Press, officers with the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said they rescued 276 dogs, all of which were living in deplorable conditions in the home located on Bennett Road.
276 terrified puppies rescued from house of horrors: 276 DOGS left to live on shelves and… https://t.co/NqRuqpWPt6
— pixphotobox (@pixphotobox) June 6, 2016
On Thursday night, the authorities were notified by a Associated Humane Society worker about a dog on the loose. When they went to find the dog, they could hear more dogs barking in the home, and suspected something more was going on.
The rescue workers, all wearing hazmat suits and some wearing ventilators and air tanks, entered the home which was permeated with rotted floors, fleas, and flies on Friday. The stench in the home was so overwhelming, due to the piles of urine and feces, that neighbors had complained on more than one occasion.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” Ross Licitra, chief law enforcement officer for the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said. “Everybody is trying to get this under control.”
After entering the home, the rescue workers started carrying out dozens of small dogs, which included breeds such as pugs, chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers. In total, 276 dogs were found inside the 1800-square-foot home sitting on book shelves, makeshift platforms, and under the beds; some were even found inside the walls. Many of the dogs, the authorities believe, had never been outside.
Thankfully, the authorities did not report finding any dead dogs, and most of the dogs rescued were in fair condition — only a few of them had to receive oxygen at the scene. Before they ran out of supplies, the animal workers were able to vaccinate 80 of the dogs. Several of the rescue workers sustained minor injuries including cuts, bruises, respiratory issues, and heat exhaustion. They were all treated at the scene.
276 dogs found in New Jersey home: 276 dogs were rescued from a Howell, New Jersey home in what local authori… https://t.co/y6yFNw1Jzi
— Fox5NY (@fox5ny) June 6, 2016
“Most of these dogs have never seen the outside of their house before,” said Licitra. “This is actually the worst hoarding case that we’ve ever experienced ever here in the history of Monmouth County.”
Charlene and Joseph Hendricks, the owners of the home and dogs, said they started three years ago with eight dogs, and they just started reproducing. The couple said they never did anything to stop the dogs from multiplying, but they are now fully cooperating with the authorities.
Pictured: Some of the 276 puppies and dogs rescued from house of horrors https://t.co/cs7zNIHGkY
— Metro (@MetroUK) June 6, 2016
Although Charlene and Joseph did emerge from their home while the dogs were being seized, they quickly returned after being approached by reporters.
“Could you trim it down and not give us so much attention? We’re not bad people,” Joseph told the reporters. “Not much to tell at this point in time. I’m exhausted, I can’t even think. It’s more than you think.”
“Nobody expected something like this,” neighbor Suzanne DeGrande, 60, said as she watched the scene unfold from her front porch. “Nobody expected this type of thing. I’m like in shock. I haven’t been able to get out of my driveway all day.”
WATCH ICYMI: 276 dogs rescued from deplorable conditions in Howell Friday are doing well. Charges expected next week pic.twitter.com/fb3d9DcrAn
— Asbury Park Press (@AsburyParkPress) June 6, 2016
“Apparently they both had a problem,” she added. “I don’t know how they lived in a house like that. I just hope that they both get the help they need.”
Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni was also at the home, and said criminal charges would be decided based on the condition of the dogs.
[Photo via Shutterstock]