A Middletown woman has been sentenced, fined and banned from owning pets after police discovered she was hoarding more than 60 dogs and puppies in her home in 2020, authorities said.
Marlene Sandford was sentenced in Middletown Municipal Court to six months incarceration and $30,500 in fines, according to the Monmouth County SPCA. Sanford's sentencing came with 61 counts of animal cruelty and a lifetime pet ownership ban.
On July 20, 2020, 61 dogs were removed from Sandford's 7th Avenue home after her son, who lived on the other side of the duplex-style residence, called the county's animal cruelty hotline to report that his mother had lost control of the animals, authorities said previously.
The Monmouth County SPCA said that, during the incident, authorities worked for nearly six hours in "sweltering heat" to remove the dogs. Most of the animals were crammed into crates together, had matted fur from sitting in their own excrement and had never had veterinary care.
All 61 dogs were taken to the Monmouth County SPCA where they were vaccinated, spayed or neutered, groomed and received other surgeries if necessary, according to the Monmouth County SPCA. One dog’s fur was so matted that it grew around her legs, leaving her deformed and in need of corrective surgery and amputation.
Over the following months, all of the dogs and puppies were adopted, authorities said.
“There is no greater victory than when justice is brought forth, especially when the lives of innocent animals are involved," said Monmouth County SPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra. "This is a big win for animal welfare, and we can’t reiterate enough that animal cruelty will not be tolerated in our community.”
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Belford NJ woman sentenced for 61 counts of animal cruelty