Police: Virginia woman faces charges after dozens of live and dead pets found in pickup truck

New Jersey state police say that 44 dogs and cats were living inside the Chevy truck that was parked behind a Marshalls store along Route 206 in Newton.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

Apr 11, 2023, 4:15 PM

Updated 467 days ago

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A Virginia woman is facing animal cruelty charges after dozens of dogs and cats – some deceased – were found inside a pickup truck.
New Jersey state police say that 44 dogs and cats were living inside the Chevy truck that was parked behind a Marshalls store along Route 206 in Newton. In addition to the 44 live animals – 50 animals, mainly kittens, were found dead.
Members of the 11th Hour Rescue group were among the first on the scene when the truck was discovered Monday evening.
“Just feces everywhere. The smell was horrific,” says Jaime Hall, of 11th Hour Rescue. “It was what looked like a rundown pickup truck. There was feces, kibble, shoes, coats, random stuff. It looked like almost someone lived in the pickup truck.”
Police say 53-year-old Lynn Leonard, of Bloxom, Virginia, was living in the truck.
Hall tells News 12 that Leonard told police that she was moving and loaded up her truck with her pets.
“She had had her deceased pets in her freezer, and she decided to put them in the back of her truck because she wanted to move them to her new home,” Hall says.
The dead animals were found in bags and in tins. They were methodically wrapped and preserved. News 12 found the truck Tuesday afternoon still behind the store. The owner had returned, but she refused to speak or be seen on camera.
The live animals have been spread among various shelters, including 11th Hour Animal Rescue, Blairstown Animal Hospital, Newton Animal Hospital and Bark’s Animal Rescue.
"This is Doobie. He's apparently a 17-year-old Chihuahua,” says Alex Galdi, of 11th Hour Rescue. "He's the most socialized one that we got out of there."
The animals will be checked out by veterinarians and put up for adoption.
"They are absolutely terrified. They are plump, they were fed. They seem to be in good condition,” Galdi says.
Police say that Leonard has been charged with animal cruelty. She was released pending a court hearing.


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