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Woman accused of hoarding animals in pickup truck fails to make court appearance

Officials say that 53-year-old Lynn Leonard, of Virginia, did not appear for her virtual court hearing and that another one will have to be scheduled.

Matt Trapani and Amanda Lee

May 10, 2023, 9:04 PM

Updated 410 days ago

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A woman accused of abandoning dozens of animals in northern New Jersey did not appear for a scheduled court date.
Officials say that 53-year-old Lynn Leonard, of Virginia, did not appear for her virtual court hearing and that another one will have to be scheduled.
Officials say that Leonard is facing animal cruelty charges after dozens of dogs and cats were found inside a pickup truck in the parking lot of a Marshalls store along Route 206 in Newton.
Officials say that if Leonard misses a second hearing, there will be a warrant out for her arrest.
New Jersey State Police say that 44 animals were found alive inside the truck. Dozens more were found dead and were found packed away in bags and tins in the freezer.
“Hoarding sometimes can start from a good place – you get dogs that you care for. But what’s challenging for us is to see the meticulous way of the deceased animals. That’s just unheard of,” says Jaime Hall, a volunteer at Eleventh Hour Animal Rescue.
Hall was there at the scene shortly after the police were called. She helped to relocate the animals.
“There were dogs wedged in every corner. The seats were ripped up. It was crazy,” Hall says.
Hall says that police officers also pulled out cats stuffed into bags.
“They just laid it out on the grass. Just bag after bag after bag. It was little, tiny kittens wrapped in plastic. Some were even wrapped in weewee pads. There were butter cookie tins, and there would be six or seven kittens in each one,” says Hall.
Several area animal shelters were able to help get the live animals placed in new homes. Eleventh Hour took in four dogs. Kennels were quickly emptied as they were adopted into new homes.
“We were able to take four of the dogs back in with us. They were actually pretty healthy in a sense that they were well fed but definitely needed grooming and foster homes pretty quickly,” says adoption coordinator Tiffany Janaireh.
Eleventh Hour says that it looks as if the animals were in the truck for weeks before being found.


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