180 cats and dogs rescued from horrific Brick, NJ home
BRICK — Police, animal shelter workers and hazardous material crews spent 10 hours Friday night and early Saturday removing 180 cats and dogs from a house where they were found to be living in "horrible and inhumane conditions."
Police Chief James Kelly said officers responded to the house on Arrowhead Park Drive around 7:30 p.m. on a complaint that Aimee Lonczak, 49, and Michele Nycz, 59 were running a puppy mill.
Officers smelled a strong odor and could hear barking coming from the house.
When the officers went inside they found crates with dogs and cats stacked on top of each other with animal waste all over the single-story home. The conditions were so bad the officers requested a hazardous materials team be sent to the house.
Dead animals also found
135 dogs and 45 cats were found at the home and needed to be removed, including two dead dogs. Eight animals required emergency care, according to Kelly.
Shelters from all over the state were brought in to help remove and examine the animals. One of those agencies was the Associated Humane Popcorn Park Shelter in Lacey, which arrived around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
"It was a mess. They had to have masks because of the odors and the stench inside," Executive Director John Bergmann told New Jersey 101.5. "They got the dogs out of the house and put them in crates and transported them away."
Monmouth County SPCA executive director Ross Licitra said his staff said the odor was so bad it could be smelled across the street.
A neighbor told NBC 4 New York that the homeowners had good intentions to help the animals but the situation got so out of control they were living in their vehicles.
A teenager lived at the home
Lonczak and Nycz were both arrested on animal cruelty and child endangerment charges as a 16-year-old also lived at the house. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be filed, Kelly said.
The residence was condemned by the Brick building and code department.
Animal rescue agencies were brought in to assist the American Red Cross of New Jersey, the Ocean County Sheriff's Department, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and Berkeley Hazmat. NJ Animal Disaster Response, Jack and Lucy’s Animal Rescue, Tiny Paws Rescue, Art Cast Rescue and the Animal Adoption Center also assisted.