Couple charged in Howell dog hoarding case asks for dogs back

The couple accused of hoarding 276 dogs inside their home in Howell Township apparently asked for some of their dogs back.

Charlene and Joseph Hendricks were together charged with more than 750 counts of animal cruelty and not providing veterinary care when they appeared before a municipal judge Wednesday.

The Hendricks requested a public defender, but the judge rejected that request and said that the couple does not qualify for free legal representation.

Officials tell News 12 New Jersey that it is very unlikely that they will get any of their pets back.

Authorities removed the nearly 300 dogs from the Bennett Road home on June 3. It has been called one of the worst cases of animal hoarding in the state.

Many of the dogs are still being cared for by the Monmouth County SPCA. Caregivers say that many of the dogs still shake with fear because they have had so little human contact. Many of the dogs had never been outside before being rescued.

Representatives from the SPCA say that dozens of the dogs have already been adopted, but socializing them is a slow process.

"People have to be patient with them, because they are not regular dogs," says Danielle Mania, who is fostering one of the dogs.

The Hendricks face more than $1 million in fines if they are convicted. They could also be ordered to pay for food and care for the dogs.

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