Western New Jersey

Hunterdon County animal shelter official charged with 18 counts of animal cruelty

Authorities say Theresa D. Carlson failed to properly care for 9 cats

MILFORD, N.J. - An official at an animal shelter in Hunterdon Co., N.J., has been charged with 18 counts of animal cruelty for failing to provide proper nourishment to nine cats at the shelter, according to the Hunterdon County prosecutor's office.

Theresa D. Carlson, president and director of the Milford-based Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter, was charged Wednesday following a joint investigation by the New Jersey SPCA, Hunterdon County prosecutor's office, and the state's health and agriculture departments.

Carlson faces up to six months in jail. She also faces up to $18,000 in fines and $20,000 in restitution.

Authorities filed court order to remove Carlson as president and director of the animal shelter. On Wednesday, a judge granted that order and placed the SPCA in charge of the shelter.

Captain Rick Yocum, president of the New Jersey SPCA, described conditions at the shelter as deplorable. He said the American Humane Association is assisting SPCA veterinarians to decontaminate and sterilize the shelter, and provide medical services to the animals.

Yocum says PetSmart Charities will provide "much needed supplies." Yocum also noted the SPCA has filed a number of grant applications with national animal welfare groups "to assist in this unfortunate situation."

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