Forty dogs rescued from inside an abandoned Lakewood home continue to recover while mystery remains as to who owns the home and who was living there.

The home on Spruce Street in Lakewood where 40 dogs were found living in filth.
The home on Spruce Street in Lakewood where 40 dogs were found living in filth. (CBS New York)

Husky House Shelter of Matawan and the Popcorn Park Zoo were among the organizations that rescued the dogs on Thursday night from conditions that Zoo General Manager John Bergmann described as the worst as he had ever seen. He described a horrific scene with “stool all over the place and holes in walls where dogs had gone from one room to another when doors were closed.”

Townsquare Media has learned that a woman had been living in the home but it is not known if she owned the property or was renting.

A search of Ocean County tax records indicates the owner of home is Tal Spruce LLC. Phone calls and email messages from Townsquare Media to Lakewood Police and Mayor Albert Akerman asking about how long Township officials were aware of the home went unanswered.

Lorraine Healy, founder and president of Husky House, echoed Bergmann's comments. "I've never been in a situation that was this bad," she told the Asbury Park Press.

"Our main goal is to make sure that the pups in our care are given a full medical work-up and given some time to decompress and adjust," wrote Husky House on their Facebook page. They are picking up eight dogs initially taken to the Ocean County Animal Center in Jackson on Saturday.

One of the dogs rescued from a house in Lakewood
One of the dogs rescued from a house in Lakewood (Husky House)

CBS New York reports the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was notified Thursday about the home on Spruce Street and led the rescue effort. The Lakewood Animal Control Officer had removed some dogs from the home earlier in the week.

Township Manager Thomas Henshaw told the Asbury Park Press that the officer saw 10 dogs when he came to the property. Once additional dogs were discovered on the property, the NJ SPCA was notified.

News 12 New Jersey reports the home was recently condemned and the township was aware of the resident's plan to move. Neighbors say they area around the home smelled, they could hear barking and see dogs fighting inside the house. The house is to be torn down within the month according to News 12.

NJSPCA spokesman Matt Stanton says his group is leading the investigation into the home and said results would be available early next week. A post on the NJ SPCA's Facebook page said the group works closely with many shelters, rescues and animal control officers. In New Jersey, the organization has legal authority to investigate and bring charges in abuse cases.

Healy told NBC 4 New York the dogs were well-fed and should be available for adoption within the next two weeks. The dogs at Popcorn Park Zoo will also be put up for adoption.

Tom Mongelli contributed to this report


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