HOWELL TOWNSHIP - Hundreds of animal cruelty charges are pending against a former Woodbridge animal control officer.

The Monmouth County SPCA took dozens of animals yesterday from the Howell home of 56-year-old Mercedes Lopez. The animal control officers say the animals were living in unhealthy conditions.

Lopez's neighbors tell News 12 New Jersey that there is no way she would ever abuse a pet. Her family insisted that all of the animals were well cared for and she was trying to help them find homes.

Among the 200 animals Lopez is accused of keeping are dogs, cats, rabbits, pigeons, parrots and a raccoon. They were all taken to various shelters and rescue centers.

Each animal cruelty charge that Lopez faces carries a 6-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.