Police: NJ Woman Had 44 Deceased Dogs in Freezer; 130 Additional Dogs Found Living in Inhumane Conditions

The New Jersey State Police have arrested Donna Roberts, 65, from Shamong Township, for keeping more than 100 dogs in deplorable and inhumane conditions in and around her home on Oakshade Road.

According to authorities, on Nov. 13th, detectives from Red Lion Station responded to Roberts’ residence to assist the Burlington County Health Department with an inspection. When detectives arrived, they observed evidence of animal cruelty inflicted upon various breeds of dogs on the property. The odor of animal feces and ammonia permeated the inside of the residence, which caused several of the responders to experience dizziness and nausea.

Upon further investigation, detectives discovered 130 living dogs, and 44 deceased dogs that were packaged in plastic bags and stored in freezers throughout the residence. It was determined that four of the dogs were in critical condition and had to be transported to an emergency veterinary clinic. The remaining dogs were evaluated and treated at the scene by animal shelter workers.

"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," said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. "Troopers take an oath to protect and safeguard life, including the lives and well-being of pets, which can be vulnerable to abuse."

“The BCPO was aware of the inspection to be conducted by the Burlington County Health Department pursuant to Shamong Township’s recently adopted ordinance concerning the housing of animals,” said Scott Coffina, Burlington County Prosecutor. “When contact with the occupant raised concerns about the welfare of animals on the property, we sought a search warrant, which was then executed by the State Police. 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. I would like to commend the State Police for their professionalism and compassion, and thank the Burlington County Health Department and the many volunteers for the outpouring of support to provide for the care for these dogs.”

Donna Roberts was charged with animal cruelty and released with a pending court date.

The case is being prosecuted by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.

Charges are mere accusations and the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.