Sacco checks up on puppies as NB animal hoarder faces 79 charges, $237k in fines


North Bergen Mayor/state Senator (D-32) Nick Sacco checked up on the puppies rescued from a township animal hoarder on Wednesday – who is facing a whopping 79 criminal charges and $237,000 in fines.


“It’s very heartwarming to see that their all being taken care of and they all seem so healthy which I think is very important,” Sacco told Hudson County View outside of Bergen County Protect and Rescue in Cliffside Park late this afternoon.

“So we know now that they weren’t abused in the sense that … direct abuse, it may have been just too many dogs and cats in one place and, unfortunately, some died as a result of these issues. But the ones we have here all seem very healthy and ready to go.”

Sacco added that the North Bergen Health Department has received about three times the amount of calls for adoption than there are dogs to be adopted, leaving him hopeful that each one finds a good home.

As we previously noted, those interested in adopting a pet can call the North Bergen Health Department at 201-392-2084 (or 2085).

A joint effort between the North Bergen Police Department, North Bergen Animal Cruelty Inspector Geoff Santini, BCPR and multiple volunteers from animal shelters helped rescue 49 dogs (also discovering one deceased dog) from 132 Hillcrest Place on Wednesday.

At around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday as the investigation was concluding, he believed the final tally on rescued dogs would be 50, but the final count was just one shy at 49.

Unfortunately, 11 dead cats were also later found in the dilapidated conditions inside the home.

However, Santini told us today that the tenant, Juan Perez, 58, is being held accountable for his actions: as he’s been issued 79 criminal charges pertaining to animal cruelty, 12 of which are indictable offenses to correspond with each animal that died inside the home.

Santini further explained that each charge comes with a $3,000 fine, meaning that Perez is facing a total of $237,000 in fines.

Perez has not been located by authorities yet, but warrants for his arrest are being prepared by the North Bergen Police Department as they pursue leads on his whereabouts, Santini said.

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