The rescue was giving this couple money to foster dogs, but instead police say they were letting the animals starve and die.
EVESHAM TWP., New Jersey -- Two people have been charged after officers investigating suspected animal cruelty made a shocking discovery - a child living inside an Evesham, New Jersey home with dozens of dead dogs.
Rebeccah Halbach, 35, and Brandon Leconey, 32, were arrested for endangering the welfare of a child and animal cruelty.
Evesham police say the investigation began on Monday when officers were called to a home on the 600 block of Main Street after a witness reported seeing sick and malnourished dogs.
Investigators say what they found was nothing short of deplorable.
"There's dogs in cages. Live dogs in cages, dead dogs in cages. Dead animals throughout the house," said Chief Walt Miller of Evesham Township Police.
Officers made contact with the homeowners and said they found the remains of 30 dead dogs. Police add that as many as 100 dogs may have died in the home, and some could be buried on the property.
"Behind the home there was also a burial spot where there was a large number of dogs in various levels of decay," said Miller.
Another 14 living dogs were found, along with a number of cats and rabbits.
Nine of the dogs are being treated at an animal hospital, and one had to be euthanized.
A child who was living in the home was removed by police due to the unhealthy conditions.
"It's definitely concerning having a 9-year-old child living in this home, sleeping in this home, eating in this home," said Miller, who added that investigators had to open the doors and windows of the home to air it out and reduce gas levels before it was safe for investigators to go inside.
That child is now in the care of the New Jersey Division of Child Protection & Permanency.
Police say an animal rescue from North Carolina had become suspicious that the dogs it had sent to Halbach and Leconey to foster were not being cared for. A representative came up to investigate and immediately called police.
The rescue was giving this couple money to foster dogs, but instead police say they were letting the animals starve and die in the home.
That rescue, Tender Mercies Pet Organization, told Action News that it has two dogs back in its custody.
As police searched the home Monday night into Tuesday, neighbors stopped in their tracks, in disbelief at this house of horrors.
"Disgusted. Disgusted. From the animals, to having a child in there and it being so close to my residence, it doesn't sit well with me," said Andreas Katsanos.
"Oh my God. I'm an animal lover, so for me to hear about any animal cruelty, let alone to this extent, is devastating," said Linda Shockley.
Police say the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information related to this case, including anyone who provided animals to the residents of this home, is asked to contact the Evesham Police Department at 856-983-1116, confidential tip line 856-983- 4699 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To send anonymous tips, text ETPDTIP to 847411