Donna Roberts, 65, was charged with animal cruelty after 44 dogs were found in her freezer while another 130 were still living at her home
A New Jersey woman has been arrested after investigators found 44 dead dogs dumped inside freezers at her home, and another 161 canines living in ‘deplorable and inhumane conditions.’
Donna Roberts, 65, of Shamong Township, faces animal cruelty charges after investigators from Burlington County Health Department went to her house for an inspection.
The overpowering smell of animal feces and ammonia was so strong inside Roberts’ house that several of the investigators became dizzy and were nauseous.
Four of the dogs were in such bad shape that they had to be rushed to a veterinary clinic for emergency treatment.
The remaining dogs were treated at the scene by animal welfare workers, state police said.
‘Although the circumstance 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,’ NJ State Police Col. Patrick Callahan said in a statement.
‘Troopers take an oath to protect and safeguard life, including the lives and well-being of pets, which can be vulnerable to abuse.’
A search uncovered 161 dogs that were alive, but neglected They were rescued by the SPCA (pictured are some of her rescued dogs)
When the New Jersey State Police arrived on scene they described evidence of animal cruelty inflicted upon the animals
The odor from the kennel areas outdoors and inside the home caused many first responders to experience dizziness and nausea
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said his office obtained a search warrant for Roberts’ home after concerns were raised about the welfare of animals.
‘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.’
Roberts was charged with animal cruelty but has been released pending a court date.
Roberts claimed that the puppies were all stillborn and that she forgot about the dead animals after putting them in bags and storing them in her freezer seven years ago.
Unfortunately, 44 dead dogs were found on the property kept in the freezer and four dogs were found in critical condition and rushed to emergency medical facilities
Monmouth County SPCA has taken in over 30 dogs and puppies from the home and will start the process of giving these animals full medical exams and treatments over the next few days
Many of the dogs and puppies that were rescued have upper respiratory infections along with skin issues, overgrown nails and untreated ear infections, among other things
Roberts raised a variety of breeds, including coonhounds, Labradors, Boston terrier mixes and Havanese, as well as poodles, boxers and West Highland white terriers
‘I forgot all about them, they were in the cellar,’ Roberts said. ‘They were in a freezer, and that’s what breeders do when dogs die. I forgot all about them. They were born dead and I didn’t kill them. They’re making a big deal out of nothing.’
Roberts told the New York Post how she and and her boyfriend stored the animals to be sent to a veterinarian in Alabama to be autopsied but then claims the corpses in her basement simply slipped her mind.
A variety of breeds were found at Roberts home including coonhounds, Labradors, Boston terrier mixes and Havanese, alongside poodles, boxers and West Highland white terriers.
Roberts says she plans to fight the charges insisting she didn’t do anything wrong.
Anyone interested in fostering can email firstname.lastname@example.org
The dead dogs were packaged in plastic bags and stuffed in various freezers throughout the house; the smell was awful, officials said
It’s still not clear how the 44 dogs died, but investigators say that’s not the point
Ultimately, 161 dogs were found at the home. Four were in critical condition and had to be taken to an emergency clinic; the rest were treated at the scene by animal shelter workers