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New Jersey Dog Hoarding Couple Face 552 Animal Cruelty Charges

Jun 18, 2016 09:36 AM EDT

The New Jersey couple whose house was found with over 270 dogs earlier this month now face over 500 animal cruelty charges, according to authorities.

Asbury Park Press reported that the couple, Joseph and Charlene Handrik, are charged with 552 counts-two for each dog rescued from what workers found as "deplorable" conditions.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office charged the Handriks with 276 counts of inflicting unnecessary cruelty to a living animal by providing inhumane living conditions, and another 276 counts for failing to provide veterinary care for the canines.

Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chief Ross Licitra said the couple have been cooperative and knew that the charges were going to be pressed against them.

The Howell couple could go to jail for animal cruelty. They could also be fined between $250 and $1,000 for every charge they will be convicted of.

The incident has been dubbed the worst case of animal hoarding in the county's history. It took rescuers half a day to rescue all of the dogs from the home which was filled with urine and feces.

The dogs are composed of different breeds, and some are still puppies. The pregnant dogs have since given birth, raising the total number of rescued pups to more than 300.

For the rescued dogs, a second chance

Now that charges are to be pressed, what will happen to these dogs?

On June 8, a brindle French Bulldog mix became the first to be adopted. The others have been marked for adoption, but the SPCA said they are still taking care of almost 100 rescued dogs, as per Examiner.

The rescue organization said the dogs will need extra care and understanding, since they are very traumatized and undersocialized. An adoption will give them a chance for another home and a caring family.

Those who want to help but are unable to adopt can go to this website to make a donation for the continuous care of the dogs.

Animal cruelty laws are present in all 50 states in the country with provisions stating minimal care standards required for the animal.

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