Puppy mill bust: Police rescue 180 animals living in ‘horrible and inhumane conditions’
BRICK TOWNSHIP, N.J. (Gray News) - Police in New Jersey say they have arrested two people along with rescuing nearly 200 animals living in deplorable conditions.
According to the Brick Township Police Department, humane law enforcement officers responded to an anonymous complaint about residents inside a home on Arrowhead Park Drive running a puppy mill.
Officers said they met on Dec. 2 with two of the home’s residents identified as 49-year-old Aimee Lonczak and 58-year-old Michele Nycz regarding the complaint.
While speaking with Lonczak and Nycz, officers reported smelling a strong odor coming from the home while hearing barking dogs.
The officers said they were permitted to enter the home and immediately noticed a strong odor along with unsanitary conditions. The team observed stacks of animal crates on top of each other with dogs and cats inside.
Because of the conditions, the officers said they were forced to exit and requested a hazmat team.
Initially, officers estimated that there were about 30 animals contained within the residence. Once emergency response teams were able to get into the home, it became apparent that the number of animals was above 100.
According to Brick Township police, the home was full of animal waste and the animals were living in “horrible and inhumane conditions.” At least two animals removed were deceased, both of which were dogs.
Authorities said the number of animals that needed to be rescued called for a large response from agencies throughout central New Jersey.
Rescuers in hazmat equipment removed the animals, which took about 10 hours. The animals were then transported to many area shelters.
In total, 135 dogs and 45 cats were removed from the residence, according to police. A veterinarian checked the animals rescued from the home, and eight of them were sent for emergency veterinary care.
Lonczak and Nycz were arrested for animal cruelty and child endangerment, as a 16-year-old also lived at the home.
The police department said its investigation remains ongoing and additional charges may be filed. The residence has since been condemned.
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