An animal cruelty investigation led to 50 dogs and at least three kitten being rescued, as well as one dead canine found, at a North Bergen home on Hillcrest Place this morning into this afternoon.
The North Bergen Police Department, New Jersey Animal Control and Rescue, Bergen County Protect and Rescue and Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter all collaborated on an animal cruelty case at 132 Hillcrest Pl. where neighbors had been complaining for months about dog hoarding.
Juan Perez, 58, the tenant of the residence, wasn’t home and neighbors said they haven’t seen him in days. The investigation hit a crescendo when Perez was a no-show in North Bergen municipal court this morning for summonses issued by the health department.
BCPR volunteers first brought out 17 puppies, both Rottweilers and Labradors, before incredibly finding 33 fully grown dogs. The majority of the canines were in good health, though a few appeared dehydrated and/or malnourished and suffered from “cherry eyes” – a condition officials said can easily be corrected.
At least three kittens were removed from the home as well. One glance at the living room revealed that the home is in, at best, deplorable condition.
Geoff Santini, who operates NJACR and is also North Bergen’s animal cruelty investigator, said that Perez could face fines upwards of $50,000 and possibly even two years in jail for hoarding so many animals.
Santini added that St. Hubert’s Animal Shelter in Madison have agreed to care for some of the animals as well. NJACR rescued 18 cats from a West New York hoarder’s home one month ago.
A woman who would only identify herself as “Anna,” the property owner of 132 Hillcrest Pl., had little to say about the situation but did state she was unaware of any issues with the home.
Those looking to adopt the puppies, dogs or kittens can contact the North Bergen Health Department at 201-392-2084.