Authorities seize nearly 100 maltreated dogs from Vernon rescue group

Two operators of a Sussex County rescue group are facing animal cruelty charges after authorities allegedly found nearly 100 maltreated dogs and several dead animals on their property this week.

Gizela Juric and Ronald Colgan, owners of the Angels for Animals Network, were each charged with six counts of animal cruelty following a raid of the organization's Vernon site Tuesday, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The ASPCA, along with the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office and Vernon police, seized more than 90 dogs of various breeds, sizes and ages found living in their own urine and feces and exposed to high levels of ammonia. Many of the animals had dirty, severely matted coats, including one with metal nails matted into its fur, the society said.

Some of the dogs were underweight and had untreated eye infections, injuries or other medical conditions. Several were living in cars, and others were found deceased on the property.

Nearly 100 dogs were rescued in February 2024 from a house in Vernon leading to charges against two people.
Nearly 100 dogs were rescued in February 2024 from a house in Vernon leading to charges against two people.

The dogs were transported to the ASPCA's cruelty recovery center, a facility that provides temporary shelter, medical care and behavioral treatment for animals rescued from suspected cruelty and neglect situations.

"The ASPCA is grateful to be in a position where we can collaborate with local agencies across the country to provide critical resources and expertise to rescue at-risk animals and bring them to safety," said Teresa Ladner, the organization's senior director of investigations. "It’s clear these dogs were not receiving adequate treatment despite the fact that they were under the care of a self-described animal rescue group."

The Angels for Animals Facebook page features a GoFundMe link from January seeking donations to bring four stray dogs from Egypt to the rescue group. The initiative raised $1,780 of its $4,000 goal, and another post shows the dogs arrived early last week.

Juric was previously charged with animal cruelty on Feb. 2 after another dog died in her care, the ASPCA said.

The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are pending based on evidence collected by the ASPCA and the county prosecutor's office.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Vernon NJ dog rescue group faces animal cruelty charges