ASPCA finds 61 dogs in hoarding house

By Coleen Burnett

In the words of Monmouth County SPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra, it was “remarkably reprehensible.”

The “it” in question was the discovery July 20, of some 61 dogs being hoarded in a home in the Belford section of Middletown.

Licitra said the home was in deplorable shape. He called it “terrible” to walk into a space that was hot, dark, and smelled of urine and feces.

It was not the first time the Eatontown-based officials had visited that particular address. Apparently animal control officers had visited the same homeowner about 11 years previously for essentially hoarding some 80 dogs. At that time, the homeowner was charged with only civil offenses and not charged criminally.

That will not be the situation here. The homeowner will definitely be served with criminal charges in the case, but Licitra told the LINK that it will be unlikely she would do jail time as a first-time criminal offender. It turned out that she was reported by her own son, who lived in the other side of the duplex-style home.

“She will be fined heavily, but it won’t go up to an indictable offense,” he said.

The good news is that apparently none of the dogs will have to be euthanized and will be available for adoption soon. In spite of their situation, they are apparently on the road to recovery.

“Some of them are scared to death because they are not used to being around a human,” said Licitra. “They are living creatures… they know when they are being taken care of.”

For now the best way the public can help is to donate money for their medical care via the SPCA website at or the SPCA Facebook page. “It’s going to take a lot of money to get them their medical attention,” he said.

Licitra said some of the dogs will need special homes that will work with behavior management issues. Some dogs are pregnant or have just given birth. At least one dog will need surgery.

But Licitra was most heartened by the fact that he had received literally “hundreds” of calls regarding adoptions. He urged everyone to just keep an eye on both pages.

“Keep looking all the time,” he said, ”It’s going to be one at a time.”