Nearly 200 dogs were rescued from a nightmare hoarding situation in New Jersey on Tuesday — some pregnant, many sick and most having had only limited human contact.
Law enforcement sources said the dogs were rescued from the home of a prominent breeder, whose dogs have won Best in Breed awards from the Westminster Kennel Club. It was not immediately clear if the breeder was facing charges.
The Monmouth County SPCA said it was called to the undisclosed location in Hunterdon County on Tuesday, where it found 20 dogs dead in a freezer and 188 more living in a home and garage in squalid conditions.
"All of these dogs seem to have had limited human contact and minimal to no veterinary care," the organization said in appealing for donations to help get the animals treated. As of Wednesday morning it had raised more than $12,000 for their care.
Photos of the dogs released by the MCSPCA show emaciated animals with matted hair, clouded eyes and a variety of other apparent ailments.
Given the amount of treatment and assessment required, the group said it would be weeks before any of the rescued dogs — almost entirely terriers and dachshunds — would be available for adoption.
"Supporting and promoting responsible dog breeding and ownership has been a key core value of the Westminster Kennel Club for over 140 years," the organization said in a statement. "We are saddened to learn of this unfortunate situation and are grateful for the care being provided to the affected dogs."
This week's incident was the latest in a string of gruesome dog hoarding finds in New Jersey.