Police officers arrived at a New Jersey home to an inhumane sight: Dozens of live and dead dogs were residing among each other, a 9-year-old child and two adults.
The officers from Evesham, a suburb of Philadelphia, came across the grim discovery while responding to a report of suspected animal cruelty from a witness who saw multiple sick and/or malnourished dogs at the home, the department said in a Facebook post.
After making contact with the homeowners, officers went inside to find in excess of 30 dead dogs throughout the living space.
They also found 14 living dogs and numerous cats and rabbits inside the home. Nine dogs were transported to a local animal hospital, with multiple in "extremely poor health." One dog's condition was so poor it had to be euthanized.
Initial processing of the scene has led police to believe as many as 100 dogs have died in the home, which includes the number they found in the home or believed to be buried on the property.
These animal deaths made the living conditions so poor the police had to open the doors and windows upon arriving to air it out for their safety. These conditions prompted them to remove the 9-year-old who resided there and place him or her in child protective services.
Authorities arrested the homeowners, 35-year-old Rebecca Halbach and 32-year-old Brandon Leconey, for endangering the welfare of a child and animal cruelty. Leconey is now in Burlington County Jail, and Halbach is being evaluated at a hospital for an unrelated medical condition before heading to jail, too. It's not clear whether the 9-year-old was related to either suspect.
Police alongside the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office are now asking anyone with information regarding the home or its pets, including anyone who gave them any animals, to come forward.
Authorities say the investigation and search warrant execution continues, and they expect evidence could lead to more charges for Halbach and Leconey once the true number of dead animals is determined.
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