Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a Shamong woman has been indicted on multiple counts of causing death or bodily injury last year to dogs she kept on her property in substandard, inhumane conditions.
Donna Roberts, 66, of the 500 block of Oakshade Road, was indicted on eight counts of Animal Cruelty (Third Degree). The indictment was returned yesterday and signed by First Assistant Prosecutor Philip S. Aronow. An arraignment will be scheduled soon in Superior Court in Mount Holly.
Roberts was charged late last year after New Jersey State Police found 44 dog carcasses placed in plastic bags and stored in freezers throughout the residence. Investigators also discovered 161 living dogs, four of which were in critical condition and required emergency treatment at a veterinary clinic.
The investigation began after officials went to inspect her property on November 13 and discovered dogs living in deplorable conditions. A search warrant was then secured and an inspection of the entire premises revealed the extent of the neglect.
The remaining dogs were evaluated and treated at the scene. In the immediate aftermath, multiple agencies came forward to assist with the care of those dogs, most of which were then placed for adoption.
Roberts was not detained pending trial, but has been forbidden by a judge from owning, possessing or caring for any animals.
The investigation was conducted by the New Jersey State Police, with assistance from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Burlington County Health Department. The case was presented to the grand jury by Assistant Prosecutor Nicole Handy.
An indictment is merely an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.