Officials with the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rescued 63 dogs Saturday from a private home in Middle Township in Cape May County.
Rescuers found an additional six dogs that had died.
Officials had been in discussions with the homeowner, Dawn Scheld, 46, since the summer "to get a better handle on the amount of dogs and their care here," said Lt. Tom Yanisko.
A few weeks ago, believing there were insufficient improvements made, officials filed animal cruelty charges. Then, with a court date still six or so weeks away, officials determined conditions had deteriorated and they executed a warrant Saturday to raid the home.
"There are just too many animals to manage appropriately here," Yanisko said, noting many had no drinkable water.
All but 11 of the dogs were relocated to shelters or other rescue organizations by late afternoon. For more information, call the society at (800) 582-5979.