KINGWOOD, N.J. (AP) — The co-owner of a once-renowned New Jersey dog kennel where authorities say nearly 200 terriers and dachshunds were living in squalor says the kennel fell on hard times and found itself with more animals than it could even give away.
Martin Strozeski told The New York Times that Rocky Ridge Russells became “a hobby turned bad” after some high-flying years. One of its Parson Russell terriers was named best of its breed at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 2009.
Law enforcement officers and animal welfare groups went to the Kingwood home Tuesday to remove the dogs, which were mostly Russell terriers.
Officials said the animals seemed to have had limited human contact and minimal to no veterinary care. They noted that many were pregnant, had “masses and infections,” or both. But Strozeski said the condition of the dogs was exaggerated in reports.
“They weren’t well cared for, but they had their primary needs — food and water, and I changed their bed every day,” he said. “I was spending 12 hours a day with these dogs.”
No charges have been filed, but officials say they’re continuing to investigate.
Strozeski and his companion/business partner, Marcia Knoster, live at the 10-acre farm where they operate the Rocky Ridge Russells kennel.
“This wasn’t backyard breeding,” Strozeski said. “Things just went sideways.”
The dogs are now being cared for at an animal center in Madison and are in the process of being spayed and neutered, groomed and treated for any medical issues they may have. The shelter said some of the dogs will likely be made available for adoption next week.