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Woman charged after police find 44 deceased dogs in New Jersey home

A New Jersey has been charged by state police after 44 deceased dogs were found in her home.

Donna Roberts, age 65, was arrested for keeping more than 100 dogs in deplorable and inhumane conditions in and around her home in Shamong Township.

<who>Photo Credit: New Jersey State Police

In addition to the 44 deceased dogs, 161 dogs were found to be living in inhumane conditions at her home.

On Tuesday, detectives responded to the residence to assist the Burlington County Health Department with an inspection. When detectives arrived, they observed evidence of animal cruelty inflicted upon various breeds of dogs on the property.

<who>Photo Credit: Animal Welfare Association

“The odor of animal feces and ammonia permeated the inside of the residence, which caused several of the responders to experience dizziness and nausea,” the New Jersey State Police said in a statement.

Disturbingly, officials said that upon further investigation, 44 deceased dogs were found packaged in plastic bags and stored in freezers throughout the residence.

<who>Photo Credit: Animal Welfare Association

It was determined that four of the living dogs found on the property were in critical condition and had to be transported to an emergency veterinary clinic. The remaining dogs were evaluated and treated at the scene by animal shelter workers.

"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," said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. "Troopers take an oath to protect and safeguard life, including the lives and well-being of pets, which can be vulnerable to abuse."

Roberts was charged with animal cruelty and released with a pending court date.

“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,” said Scott Coffina, Burlington County Prosecutor. “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.”

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