44 Dead Dogs in Freezers, 161 Live Ones in Filth Found in NJ Woman's House of Horrors: State Police

The smell was so bad it made several first responders sick when they went inside, officials say

What to Know

  • More than 40 dead dogs and 161 live dogs living in deplorable conditions were found at an NJ woman's home Tuesday, authorities say
  • The dead dogs were packaged in plastic bags and stuffed in various freezers throughout the house; the smell was awful, officials said
  • Donna Roberts faces a charge of animal cruelty; she was released from custody pending a future court date

A 65-year-old New Jersey woman faces an animal cruelty charge after authorities say they found 44 dead dogs in plastic bags in her freezers and more than 160 dogs living in deplorable conditions in and around her home. 

Detectives helping out the Burlington County Health Department with an inspection Tuesday made the grisly discoveries at the Oakshade Road home of Donna Roberts in Shamong Township. State Police say the smell of animal feces and ammonia permeated the entire residence, and several first responders actually got nauseous and dizzy because of the odor. 

Ultimately, detectives found more than 160 living dogs in the residence. Four of them were in critical condition and had to be taken to an emergency clinic; the rest were evaluated and treated at the scene by animal shelter workers. 

The 44 dead dogs were found packaged in bags in various freezers throughout the home, authorities say. 

Roberts was released from custody with a future court date. It wasn't immediately clear if she had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

It's still not clear how the 44 dogs died, but investigators say that's not the point.

"Although the circumstances 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," Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police 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."

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