Two people have been arrested and charged after authorities discovered a nightmare dog hoarding situation in New Jersey last week, officials said.
Martin Strozeski, 66, and Marcia Knoster, 70, each face multiple counts of failing to provide necessary care for the animals at the Hunterdon County kennel, where authorities discovered 20 dead dogs in a freezer and nearly 200 more living in squalid conditions at the home and garage, the Hunterdon County prosecutor and state police announced Monday.
Strozeski, a former Westminster Dog Show winning breeder who co-owns the kennel where the dogs were found, told The New York Times last week the kennel had fallen on hard times.
He said he and his business partner "couldn't give (the dogs) away," calling the kennel "a hobby turned bad."
None of the dogs had life-threatening conditions or had to be taken to emergency animal hospitals, but it appeared they had been kept in cages, said Nora Parker, spokeswoman for the St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center. She said some had skin or fur conditions that needed immediate treatment.
"Thankfully we aren't finding anything that isn't treatable, or that is life-threatening," she said.
Most of the dogs are Parson Russell terriers, a slightly larger version of Jack Russell terriers, Parker said. More than 100 of the dogs already have been transferred to other shelters to be readied for adoption.
"This was obviously a breeder at one time," Parker said. "Things were obviously out of control here. We don't know what was going on behind the scenes. Until they finish investigating, we just don't know what went wrong.”