In 2009, a New Jersey woman was caught hoarding 100 dogs on her property, according to centralnewjersey.com, describing a case that led to 81 counts of animal cruelty and thousands of dollars in fines. But somehow, even despite the gravity of the charges, this woman was still allowed to own animals, even though she’d already proven herself to be a wholly unfit pet owner. And, not so surprisingly, the 66-year-old woman has been caught abusing dogs once again.
According to NJ.com, Marlene Sandford was charged with animal cruelty again after rescuers discovered 61 dogs living inside her home in “absolute squalor.” This time around, Sanford, if convicted, will face more fines and 6 months in jail.
“This is something we cannot tolerate and never will tolerate,” said Ross Licitra, the executive director of Monmouth County SPCA, which rescued the dogs and is desperately trying to nurse them back to health. “This will absolutely go criminal.”
According to rescuers, who needed several hours to rescue all of the dogs from Sandford’s house of horrors, most of the pups were covered in their urine, drinking dirty water (if they had water at all), and sleeping filthy cages riddled with feces. Some dogs were pregnant; others had just given birth. Rescuers also saved newborn puppies from this horrific scene.
“We were walking into a world of unimaginable disgust,” said Licitra, who suspects Sanford may have been running an underground puppy mill. “(The dogs) are a mess. They’ve been living in absolute squalor like you can’t imagine. They are completely filthy. It’s going to take a while for them to recover.”
The shelter is raising money to support the dogs’ rehabilitation, which will require emergency veterinary attention, vaccines, chips, spay/neutering, and urgent grooming. “Any and all help is needed,” said Licitra. “It’s going to take an enormous amount of money and effort to get these dogs right.”
Monmouth County SPCA is desperately seeking donations from fellow animal lovers who may be willing to assist in this emergency effort. In addition to monetary donations, the shelter is also seeking professional dog groomers who would be willing to donate their time. “Every one of them needs to be groomed and cleaned,” Licitra said. “They’re beyond comprehension.”
Please contact Monmouth County SPCA if you think you can help.
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
Help Rescue Animals
Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free! →