HOWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - A couple who had 276 dogs in their bi-level New Jersey home have pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.
A municipal judge on Wednesday ordered Joseph and Charlene Handrik of Howell Township to pay $25,000 in fines and penalties. Under terms of a plea agreement, they must undergo a psychological evaluation that would have to show that they are not inclined to hoard animals if they ever want to have any more pets.
Their lawyer Raymond Raya says they were not mean-spirited. Raya says her husband got Charlene Handrik six dogs when she became disabled and the couple acquired more dogs and the pets began breeding.
The hoarding came to light in June.
All but about a dozen of the 276 dogs have been adopted.