19 large dogs rescued from squalid conditions in abandoned Paterson mansion

PATERSON, N.J. (WABC) — Animal Control on Tuesday rescued 16 German Shepherds and three Dobermans from what officials called the dilapidated basement of a once gleaming New Jersey mansion.

Authorities say the 19 dogs were kept by a squatter, who allegedly stayed in the Paterson home and raised the dogs in horrendous conditions.

Now, the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge (RBARI) in Oakland has partnered with West Milford’s Second Chance Pet Adoption League to lead the rescue effort.

The dogs were reportedly weak and malnourished, appearing to have been crammed into cages, with several large dogs in one cage.

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Feces covered the whole house, even the walls, and stains on the floor inside the cages show traces of dogs digging to escape.

Dogs come in a variety of ages, from young adults to seniors.

Unfortunately, the alleged breeder left with at least one puppy.

Several of the dogs are seniors in need of immediate medical attention, and in conjunction with John DeCando, the town’s animal control officer, rescuers immediately removed the dogs and requested assistance from area rescuers.

Other rescues have since joined the force, and the dogs are in the loving care of Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, Randolph Animal Shelter and Montclair Animal Shelter, as well as RBARI and Second Chance.

Rescue is still needed for six of the dogs, and anyone interested in adoption can email adoptlove@rbari.org or fill out an application on RBARI.org.

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Paterson Police have identified the man who was allegedly crouching in the seized estate, and is believed to be a repeat offender.

“It is unacceptable that this individual has been able to breed, abuse, neglect and abandon dogs time and time again,” said RBARI Executive Director Megan Brinster. “While we’re always here for the animals that need us, there needs to be real change to prevent this from happening again – and it starts with our community. When people think about adding a dog or puppy to their family, they cannot turn a blind eye to the horrors and abuse they endure by purchasing dogs from unknown breeders. The public needs to know where they adopt their pets from and recognize the mothers, fathers and dogs left behind when they bring home their shiny new pup. We need to create change for these animals and be their voice.”

Anyone with information that could help the investigation is asked to contact the Paterson Police Department.

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