Updated 10/20 w/ plea: More than three dozen cats were found suffering from dehrydration and malnutrition at a Secaucus residence in the center of town Sept. 31.
Officials did not identify the address of the incident but said it was a Centre Avenue home. Resident Mary Lewinski was been charged with animal cruelty, possession of more pets than allowed by town ordinance, maintaining a nuisance and failure to register the animals.
Her two sons, Martin and Joseph, were also charged.
All have pleaded not guilty following an initial appearance in Secaucus court. A hearing date has not been scheduled.
“We pride ourselves on being a pet friendly town, but no matter where you live, the situation we discovered was atrocious,” said Mayor Mike Gonnelli. “We will be seeking the maximum penalties for this offense, which will include criminal prosecution.”
Although the Secaucus shelter is a no-kill facility, the 18 cats were said to be in such poor condition that there was nothing else that could be done to help them, said the mayor.
Nineteen cats were taken to the Secaucus Animal Shelter and Secaucus officials are asking for helping in finding homes and caring for the animals.
Donations or adoptions can be arranged via town hall at 201-330-2000.