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November 10, 2016

N.J. couple accused of hoarding 276 dogs could face over 550 counts of animal cruelty

Judge to couple: Accept plea agreement or go to trial

A Monmouth County couple could face up to 552 counts of animal cruelty charges and up to $1 million in fines and penalties after animal rescue groups alleged that nearly 300 dogs were pulled from inside their Howell Township home.

According to an report on the case, an animal investigator with the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was called to the home of Joseph and Charlene Handrik on June 3 to investigate what officials said they first thought were “about 20 dogs” inside.

Upon investigation, 276 dogs were allegedly pulled from the residence, an undertaking that took workers about 12 hours to complete, the report notes.

All of the animals have since been adopted, but the case is stalled in municipal court over negotiations surrounding the number of penalties and fines included in a plea agreement.

On Wednesday, Howell Municipal Court Judge Susan Schroeder-Clark told the couple and their attorney that they have until Nov. 16 to decide to either plead guilty or go to trial.

Read the full report at