"Who is dumping terrified German Shepherds throughout Northern North Jersey?"
That's the question animal care officials and police want to know after at least eight dogs were found abandoned throughout different neighbors in North Jersey.
The mysterious cases of animal neglect appear to be connected, officials at the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge said this week.
None of the German Shepherds rescued so far, at least eight, were found without collars or microchips, some skittish and underweight. The Bergen County Animal Shelter confirmed at least two other dogs have been spotted but not yet recovered.
The dogs that have been rescued were picked up across several different towns in Bergen and Passaic County.
Officials at the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge said the dogs may have come from a backyard breeding operation.
“I started looking at them and saying, 'all these loose German Shepherds? All in the same week?' And they all look alike, they have very similar demeanor," Deb Yankow of the Bergen County Animal Shelter told NBC New York.
The Bergen County Animal Shelter in Teterboro has two of the recovered while the rest are at other shelters. The dogs were found scattered around Wayne, Woodland Park and Alpine, some near the Palisades Interstate Parkway.
“It’s just too much of a coincidence. So what’s happened is we’ve opened up an active animal cruelty investigation to try and figure out where these dogs came from, who they actually belong to," Yankow said.
The investigators are planning to test the DNA of the dogs to see help determine their connection. Luckily they are all physically healthy for the most part but they are emotionally scarred.
Some of the rescuers believe the dogs might have come from a breeder who kept them in cages most of their lives.
The shelters have gotten hundreds of calls from people looking to adopt the dogs, but they have to stay in the shelters as part of the ongoing investigation and to further socialize before they join a forever family.