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Dozens of dead dogs, cats found in pickup truck; woman charged

Police crime scene. (Dreamstime/TNS)
April 14, 2023

A pickup truck was discovered with dozens of dogs and cats inside, many of which were dead, in New Jersey on Monday afternoon.

A total of 40 animals were found deceased in the truck, CBS News reported, and 35 living animals were rescued.

A woman from Virginia who owned the truck was arrested at the scene and has been charged with animal cruelty. Lynn Leonard, 53, of Bloxom, Virginia, has since been released and is pending a court date, New Jersey 101.5 reported.

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Darlene O’Connell, president of nearby animal shelter BARKS, said most of the animals have now been placed with shelters for adoption, New Jersey 101.5 reported.

The Chevrolet Silverado truck was found parked behind a Marshalls store at the Sussex County Mall in Newton. About 30 dead cats and dogs were found in trash bags in the truck’s bed, according to New Jersey 101.5, and others were wrapped up and placed inside tins, according to CBS.

“She had whole litters of kittens that she had individually wrapped either in newspaper or plastic and tape, and she had written their names and dates, and she put them into butter tins and put them in her car, and we found many,” said Jamie Hall, a volunteer who helped rescue the animals.

The truck was filthy, as were the living animals inside it, CBS reported.

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“Dogs everywhere, filthy feces and dead animals,” Hall said. “It was rotten. It smelled like death.”

Police and volunteers used slip leads and bite gloves to recover the animals.

“You would take one out and there would be five more. They were under the seats, in the bed of the truck, carriers,” Hall said.

Volunteers at the scene came from 11th Hour Animal Rescue, Blairstown Animal Hospital, Newton Animal Hospital, and the Byram Animal Rescue Kindness Squad (BARKS), New Jersey 101.5 reported.