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More than 90 maltreated dogs, puppies removed from Sussex County animal rescue group

VERNON TOWNSHIP, NJ (Sussex County) – More than 90 maltreated dogs and puppies were removed from a Sussex County animal rescue group and the owners have the property have been charged, according to police.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the request of the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Vernon Township Police Department, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) assisted in the removal of more than 90 maltreated dogs from the property of a self-described animal rescue group in Vernon Township, police said.

The animals, including young puppies, were seized by law enforcement after they were found living in filthy conditions among their own feces and urine and exposed to high levels of ammonia, police said.

Some of the animals had dirty, severely matted coats, including one dog who was found with nails matted into their fur. Some dogs were underweight and had untreated medical conditions including eye infections and injuries. Several dogs were living in cars, and deceased dogs were also found on the property, police said.

Acting Supervising Assistant Prosecutor/Special Deputy Attorney General Brent Rafuse of the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office indicated that the owners of the property, Gizela Juric and Ronald Colgan, have been charged with 6 counts of animal cruelty charges relating to both the deceased dogs found on the property as well as the failure to provide the animals with necessary care, police said.

Juric was previously charged with animal cruelty on Feb. 2 in connection with the death of a fifth dog in her care, police said.

“The ASPCA is grateful to be in a position where we can collaborate with local agencies across the country to provide critical resources and expertise to rescue at-risk animals and bring them to safety,” said Teresa Ladner, senior director of Investigations for the ASPCA. “It’s clear these dogs were not receiving adequate treatment despite the fact that they were under the care of a self-described animal rescue group, and we commend the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Vernon Township Police Department for intervening to help end their suffering.”

Acting Sussex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray acknowledges the professionalism of the Vernon Township Police Department and the ASPCA for their assistance in this ongoing investigation.

The ASPCA is transporting the dogs to their Cruelty Recovery Center, a facility dedicated to providing temporary sheltering, medical care, and behavioral treatment and enrichment to animals rescued from emergency situations such as suspected cruelty and neglect, police said.

The ASPCA is also assisting with operational planning, evidence collection, crime scene processing, veterinary forensics exams, and behavior evaluations. Animal cruelty charges are pending based on evidence collected by the ASPCA and the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, police said.

The ASPCA is providing investigative and legal assistance to further support the investigation and prosecution and to ensure the best legal outcome for the animals, police said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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