New Jersey woman to be charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty after authorities rescued 61 dogs hoarded in her home living in “absolute misery,” the Monmouth County SPCA chief said on Tuesday.
Marlene Sandford, 66, of Middletown, will face at least 61 counts of animal cruelty and there may be additional charges, said Monmouth County SPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra. Sandford could face fines and six months in jail if found guilty, according to state laws.
“This is something we cannot tolerate and will never tolerate,” he said. “This is absolutely going to get criminal.”
Licitra said one of Sandford’s family members called the SPCA animal cruelty hotline earlier this week to report the situation. Sandford had previously been charged in 2009 with 81 counts of animal cruelty for hoarding more than 100 dogs, according to a centraljersey.com relation to the time.
After Sandford allowed officers in, Licitra said she found a total of 61 small dogs, including shitzus and collie mixes. Many animals were covered in their own urine, forced to drink from bowls of dirty water and reside in cages filled with feces, Licitra said. Several pregnant dogs were also found, along with newborn puppies, he said.
The SPCA team of workers spent hours dressed in full PPE removing the dogs, he said.
“We were entering a world of unimaginable disgust,” he said. “(The dogs) are a mess. They live in absolute misery as you cannot imagine. They are completely dirty. It will take them time to recover. »
The dogs will need medical attention, including emergency grooming, vaccinations, microchips and neutering, he said.
Licitra said he suspected the house was the site of a puppy mill, although he said Sandford, when asked by authorities, denied raising the dogs for sale.
The animals are not yet ready for adoption, but those interested should continue to check the Monmouth County SPCA website at monmouthcountyspca.org for updates.
“Any help is needed. It’s going to take a lot of money and effort to get these dogs to work well,” Licitra said. “We are looking for donations, we are looking for professional groomers who would be willing to come to the shelter and volunteer their time. Each of them must be cared for and cleaned. They are beyond comprehension.