A 68-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge stemming from the 2018 discovery of 44 dog carcasses and at least 160 living dogs kept in filthy conditions at her home, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said Wednesday.
Donna Roberts, of the 500 block of Oakshade Road in Shamong Township, pleaded guilty Feb. 16 during a proceeding in Superior Court to one count of third-degree animal cruelty for causing the deaths of six dogs by failing to provide them with proper care, Coffina said.
Under an agreement with prosecutors, Roberts must serve 90 days in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly.
Roberts also must serve five years of probation. During that time, she cannot own, raise, or otherwise care for any animals, Coffina said.
The plea agreement requires court approval. Roberts is scheduled to be sentenced May 13 before Superior Court Judge John J. Burke III.
Roberts could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Roberts was originally charged after New Jersey State Police found 44 dead dogs stored in freezers at her residence. Authorities also found 161 dogs living in filthy conditions when they executed a search warrant at her property. The pervasive odor of animal feces and ammonia caused several responders to experience dizziness and nausea.
Complaints by neighbors and others about the property led to the township passing an ordinance that resulted in the animal-welfare raid.
The grisly 2018 discovery led to Roberts’ indictment on eight counts of animal cruelty in December 2019. Just days after that indictment, the New Jersey State Police again raided her property and seized more dogs.
Last March, a fire reportedly destroyed the empty kennels at her property. The state police said there were no dogs on the property at the time.