BRICK TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Two New Jersey women are accused of running a “puppy mill” after 180 animals were found inside their home, authorities said.
Aimee Lonczak, 49, and Michele Nycz, 58, both of Brick Township, were charged with animal cruelty and child endangerment after officials discovered the animals living in unsanitary conditions, including many confined to crates that were stacked on top of one another, NJ.com reported.
According to a news release from the Brick Township Police Department, officers responded to the home at 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday after receiving an anonymous complaint.
Officers met with Lonczak and Nycz in the driveway of the women’s home and said they could smell a “strong” odor and could hear dogs barking, WNBC-TV reported.
The women gave permission to the officers to enter the home, where they found stacks of animal crates with dogs and cats inside them, according to the television station.
According to the police department’s news release, officers initially believed there were approximately 30 animals inside the residence. However, emergency crews later determined there were 180 animals in the home, including 135 dogs and 45 cats.
The response teams said the residence was filled with animal waste, and the dogs and cats were living in “horrible and inhumane conditions.” At least two dead dogs were removed from the home, police said.
Eight animals were sent to an emergency veterinarian, WPIX-TV reported.
The residence was subsequently condemned by the Brick Township building and code department, police said.
Public tax documents revealed that Lonczak is the president of Crazy Rescue Ladies, Inc., a tax-exempt nonprofit that calls itself an animal rescue group, NJ.com reported. Nycz was listed as the nonprofit’s secretary on its 2018 tax documents.
Calls to Crazy Rescue Ladies seeking comment have not been returned, according to the news organization.
The two women were arrested. The charges of child endangerment are related to Lonczak’s 16-year-old daughter, who was also living in the home, police said.
An investigation is ongoing.
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