How to Help the 276 Dogs Rescued from New Jersey Hoarders

JUNE 8, 2016 UPDATE: The first of the rescued dogs was adopted today, reports, even as more dogs were still being removed from the house. Two adult dogs and two puppies were rescued today, bringing the total to 280 dogs. As the dogs are cleared medically, they are becoming available for new forever homes.

“We’re so happy today we’re able to get this first dog out the door,” Ross Licitra, chief of law enforcement for the Monmouth County SPCA (MCSPCA), told “And it’s a new beginning.”

The dogs are being adopted out on a first-come, first-serve basis; there are no waiting lists. For information about adopting them, visit the websites of the MCSPCAAssociated Humane Societies and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center

dog rescued from New Jersey hoarders

In perhaps the worst case of dog hoarding in the state’s history, 276 dogs were rescued Friday from what authorities called “deplorable conditions” in a New Jersey house.

As investigators wearing hazmat gear walked through the house in Howell, N.J., a dog gave birth to four puppies on a countertop. There were holes in the walls, in which some of the dogs were living — and officials from the fire department had to use thermal-imaging cameras to find them.

“We at Associated Humane Societies have been involved with rescuing animals from hoarding situations many, many times in the past, but this many dogs in one home is astounding, even for us,” wrote the shelter, based in Forked River, N.J., which took in 60 of the dogs.

The unidentified middle-aged couple living at the house are facing “an enormous amount of charges,” Ross Licitra, chief of law enforcement for the Monmouth County SPCA, which also took in many of the dogs, told

All the dogs are in fair condition, but most of them are infested with fleas. Licitra called it a “crime of omission.” He believes the couple let the situation get out of hand.

The dogs are mostly small breeds, including Pugs, Yorkies and Chihuahuas, and they will soon need new forever homes. They are currently being cared for by St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center as well as the Associated Humane Societies and Monmouth County SPCA.

Heather Cammissa, president and CEO of St. Hubert’s, told some of the dogs may be ready for adoption early this week.

“They’ve been around other animals, obviously, just not a lot of people,” she said.

The Associated Humane Societies wrote on its Facebook page yesterday that the “adorable and sweet little dogs have led a lifetime of isolation and have lived in filth and squalor. Once everything settles down for them, we will begin to assess their personalities and work on getting them to overcome their fears.”

In the meantime, its phones have been “ringing off the hook” since Friday, Sgt. Kevin Rooney told

The shelters caring for the 276 dogs can really use our help. Every dog needs “vaccinations, medical clearance, spay or neuter, food, water and shelter,” according to the Monmouth County SPCA. “The average cost for an animal at the shelter is $20 per day.”

Here are links to the shelters’ donation pages:

Photo via Facebook

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!