EXCLUSIVE REPORT: Forty German Shepherds were rescued from a Ridgefield Park animal hospital today by investigators from the Bergen County SPCA, who found full-sized dogs and puppies jammed into tiny crates — some of them in a basement area that they said resembled a dungeon.
“Some of the crates were so small, the dogs were unable to stand up,” Investigator Evan Kutzin told CLIFFVIEW PILOT tonight. “One crate big enough for only one had three full-sized dogs inside.”
In the basement of the Ridgefield Park Animal Hospital, SPCA workers said they found a crate containing two full-sized dogs and another with a full-sized dog and six puppies.
More crates were found in the gated backyard of the Main Street facility, along with three dogs running loose.
“I have one of my own and it takes time to properly feed and groom and walk him,” Kutzin said. “I can’t image 40 dogs getting anywhere close to the treatment they need.”
A tipster this afternoon led authorities to the Main Street clinic, where investigators first spotted the loose dogs out back. The team included Kutzin, Bergen County SPCA Lt. Roni Wildoner and investigators Chris Riley and Bryan Thomson.
The clinic was closed for the day, so they summoned the hospital veterinarian, who was home for the weekend.
He arrived soon after and let them in.
“The doctor said he didn’t know anything about the dogs and that the owner was boarding them there,” he added.
The owner has been a hospital employee the past 10 years, Kutzin said. He was delivering a dog for adoption in Cherry Hill and needed two hours to get to Bergen County after the investigators arrived, he said.
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On the way, he apparently made several phone calls to people to pick up some of the canines, Kutzin said. One of them showed up while investigators were there.
Once he arrived, the owner agreed to sign over more than two dozen dogs to the SPCA, which was taking them to the Bergen County Animal Shelter & Adoption Center in Teterboro tonight.
He was keeping five and had found homes for a half-dozen or so others, Kutzin said.
They range in age from 5 weeks to seven years old, with most being under 2, Wildoner said. Half are under 6 months old.
“They’re all going to need new homes,” she told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
A veterinarian examined 29 dogs taken to the shelter, who are all available for adoption. Call the number or click the image above.
No summonses were immediately issued. Authorities emphasized that an investigation was continuing.
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