HOWELL — Police and animal rescue crews descended upon a home in this Monmouth County township on Thursday to remove more than 200 dogs from a home on Bennett Road in what is being called an "extreme hoarding situation."

Monmouth County SPCA Director Ross Licitra said that some of the dogs inside the home  have never left the home or received vaccinations. Several of the dogs were pregnant and delivering puppies as animal rescue crews and police began to remove the dogs. "We realized we were dealing with an enormous hoarding situation. We have 80 to 100 small dogs inside a house. Chihuahuas, Yorkies, pugs, mixed breeds."

Late Friday afternoon the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office posted on its Facebook page that over 200 dogs were rescued from the home. "It's one of the worst animal hoarding cases Monmouth County has dealt with," wrote the department.

"It's an enormous mess," Licitra said."The living conditions are absolutely deplorable in the house." Licitera said the dogs had "free reign over the house"

The county SPCA became aware of the situation after receiving a complaint from the Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey, the contracted animal control firm for the township. Lizitra said they made several unsuccessful attempts to get into the home before last night.

Licitera said the homeowners, whose identity has not been disclosed, have been very co-operative. "This is a case where people lost complete control of what they were doing. They're never reached out for help. This is a crime of omission. It's not something people do on purpose but it is animal cruelty. When animals have to live in these deplorable conditions it's not fair to them because they don't have a choice."  The home is a"bi-level, normal sized house. Typical suburban house" according to Licitera.

Licitra said the dogs are being moved through a triage as they come out of the house and being sent to county SPCA's facilities in Eatontown or to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison. Popcorn Park Zoo Director John Bergmann said he has staff assisting with the examination and removal of the dogs.

This is the second case in a week of serious animal hoarding in New Jersey. 86 cats and dogs living in squalor were rescued last Friday from a small apartment in West New York

Tom Mongelli contributed to this report

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