Two people were charged with animal cruelty and child endangerment after police found the bodies of at least 30 dogs at a home in southern New Jersey this week.
Investigators believe up to 100 dogs died at the home, including many believed to have been buried on the property. Officers found live and dead dogs at the residence Monday, along with several cats and rabbits, the Evesham Police Department said.
Nine of the live dogs were taken to an animal hospital for treatment, including several that were in “extremely poor health,” authorities said. One of those dogs eventually had to be euthanized.
Rebecca Halbach, 35, and Brandon Leconey, 32, were arrested Monday in Evesham, a Philadelphia suburb. Police responded to the home after someone associated with a North Carolina-based animal rescue group, which had given the couple money to care for some of their dogs, reported seeing several malnourished and sick dogs in the home. property.
Authorities said a 9-year-old boy who lived in the home was removed due to “unsanitary conditions” and turned over to child welfare officials. It was unclear if he was related to Halbach or Leconey.
When investigators arrived at the scene, they had to open the doors and windows to ventilate the home before it was safe for them to be inside.
There were no phone numbers for Halbach or Leconey in public records, and authorities did not know if either of them had hired an attorney who could speak on their behalf. Authorities said more charges could be filed as the investigation continues.
Leconey was being held at the Burlington County Jail, while Halbach was being evaluated at a hospital for an undisclosed medical condition.