NEWTON, N.J. (PIX11) — A Virginia woman allegedly left dozens of dead and alive animals in an abandoned truck in a New Jersey strip mall Monday, authorities said.
Police found more than 40 dead cats and dogs stuffed in trash bags in the bed of a Chevy Silverado in the parking lot of the Sussex County Mall on Hampton Road in Newton at around 4:45 p.m., according to police. The troopers also found 25 living cats and dogs in the vehicle and 13 other animals in crates in the bed of the truck, authorities said.
The truck’s owner, Lynn Leonard, 53, was arrested after showing up at the scene, police said. She was charged with animal cruelty and released until her next court date.
The surviving animals were taken to various hospitals and shelters in the state. The dogs and cats were found soaked in feces, urine, and animal remains, according to Eleventh Hour Rescue. The group took in four of the animals, including a 17-year-old chihuahua.
“I’ve never ever seen anything like that,” said Jamie Hall, a volunteer with Eleventh Hour Rescue. “It was honestly crazy.”
Hall said the animals were well-fed but were living in deplorable conditions and suffering from various medical ailments, including fleas. The owner was allegedly moving from Virginia and wanted to take all the animals, dead and alive, with her, according to Hall.
The dogs the shelter rescued have all been treated for fleas, microchipped, and vaccinated. The animals are ready to be adopted. Three of the dogs, two males and a female, were named Alvin, Simone, and Theodore.
“The sad thing is that there’s no real justice for the dead animals,” Hall said.
The organization is looking for donations, supplies, and people who can foster or adopt the dogs. For more information, contact the shelter on Facebook.
Police said the investigation is ongoing.