Monmouth County

Dozens of Pooches, Including Pregnant Dogs, Rescued From NJ Hoarding Nightmare

The woman, whose own son called the cops to file the cruelty complaint, was arrested and faces 61 counts of animal cruelty

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What to Know

  • Dozens of hoarded dogs had to be removed Monday from a home in Monmouth County where they had been living in squalor.
  • Medical staff at the Monmouth County SPCA are working on evaluating the 61 dogs that were rescued from living in cruel conditions.
  • Monmouth County SPCA soon realized this was the same Marlene Sanford who had been the subject of a civil case over a decade ago for selling sick dogs and keeping 80 of them packed inside her home.

Dozens of hoarded dogs had to be removed Monday from a home in Monmouth County where they had been living in squalor.

Medical staff at the Monmouth County SPCA are working on evaluating the 61 dogs that were rescued from living in cruel conditions in Belford.

"You couldn’t tell what was the front and what was the back... and now... there’s a face somewhere and he's wagging his tail," said an SPCA nurse.

Staff members say the dogs were found inside tight, filthy quarters and are traumatized.

The rescue happened Monday after authorities arrived at the house following a cruelty complaint call from the son of Marlene Sandford, owner of the unlicensed kennel.

"Once we gained entry into the house, we could see that this was the same situation that the previous administration faced in 2009 and had to take decisive action immediately," Ross Licitra, Executive Director Monmouth County SPCA, said.

It was a deplorable scene inside the house on 7th Street. SPCA said they soon realized this was the same Marlene Sanford who had been the subject of a civil case over a decade ago for selling sick dogs and keeping 80 of them packed inside her home.

"The house was just completely covered in feces and shutdown --no air conditioning in the house with the heat of yesterday," Licitra said.

The staff is giving the dogs medical evaluations, baths and social training.

"They are in desperate need of grooming. They are all gonna need to be spayed or neutered," Licitra said.

Additionally, some of the dogs found living in the horrible conditions were pregnant.

Sanford was not criminally charged in 2009, but is now facing 61 counts of animal cruelty. Attorney information for her was not immediately known.

BREAKINGToday we were on scene as 60+ small dogs were rescued from living in absolutely horrific conditions in...

Posted by Monmouth County SPCA on Monday, July 20, 2020

In a Facebook post on Monday, the Monmouth County SPCA said, in part: "Today we were on scene as 60+ small dogs were rescued from living in absolutely horrific conditions in Belford, NJ. A call came into our cruelty hotline from who turned out to be a family member of the owner of these dogs. Several pregnant dogs have been recovered along with newborn puppies just hours old. Many of these poor animals were so matted in their own urine and feces that they could barely walk in their small, excrement filled kennels and were forced to drink out of filthy water bowls, if any was accessible at all. Our team spent hours inside the sweltering house, with ammonia so strong it burned their eyes, in full PPE until every single dog was out safely recovered and brought back to our shelter. We are appalled and saddened by what we found today and will be sure to bring the highest count of charges allowable by law forward to this individual." 

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