‘It was just horrible.’ Friends who discovered horrific animal hoarding situation describe experiences

A pickup truck was found in Newton with dozens of dogs and cats inside. This is in addition to dozens more who were deceased.

Matt Trapani and Brittany Miller

Apr 13, 2023, 2:43 AM

Updated 469 days ago

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Three friends who first reported a horrific scene involving neglected animals are describing what they saw to News 12 New Jersey.
As News 12 previously reported, a pickup truck was found in Newton with dozens of dogs and cats inside. This is in addition to dozens more who were deceased.
Most of the animals were covered in feces and filth. But that did not stop Aubrey Burk and her friends Angelina Giuliano and Gabryel Murphy from rushing in to rescue them.
"We started to take the little cat carriers out of the back of the truck and there was like a mom and three kittens stuffed in one,” says Burk
New Jersey State Police say that 44 dogs and cats were found alive.
"The food was all spilled over and clumped together with all of their secretions, and it was just horrible,” says Burk.
Officials say that another 50 animals – mainly kittens – were found dead in a freezer. They were methodically wrapped in bags and tins.
Police say that 53-year-old Lynn Leonard is facing animal cruelty charges.
"To subject animals through that to the point where they are dying is disgusting to us,” says Murphy.
“There are people who have more animals than they can take care of,” says Jennifer Kim, president of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association. “This is a mental health issue versus it being malicious.”
Kim says that she has worked with animal hoarders before.
“They feel that if that animal went somewhere else, they wouldn’t be as well cared for as with them,” says Kim.
The animals are now being cared for at several animal shelters across the state.
“A lot of the animals, while they needed immediate medical attention and consistent bathing, they were still happy,” says Mary Alano, manager and ACO of the Ocean County Health Department.
Officials will monitor the animals’ behavior to make sure they are fit for adoption.
The best way to adopt the animals is to go to the rescue groups associated with caring for the animals.
The three friends who initially found the animals took four kittens home. A GoFundMe page has been set up to find the animals’ care.


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