Almost 200 Pups Rescued From Westminster Kennel Club “Best in Show” Breeder


Most stories and details of animal neglect, while shocking and totally unacceptable, fit a certain mold. We’ve all seen the images of dogs living in deplorable conditions. Rundown homes. Hoarder-like living conditions. People who appear to not truly care about dogs or anything for that matter. So sad, but not always surprising. But, this story truly shocked us.

Ties to the Westminster Kennel Club

A tipster called authorities in the quiet, rural town of Stockton, New Jersey to alert them of wrongdoing and possible animal neglect. The Monmouth County SPCA was shocked by what they found at the property owned by breeders whose dog had once won Best in Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club. Authorities found almost 200 dogs in a New Jersey home with the most unlikely owners.

Authorities found 170 dogs living in disturbing circumstances. There were even 20 deceased dogs in a freezer. According to The New York Times, the 10-acre property is where Rocky Ridge Russells kennels are located. Marcia Knoster and Martin Strozenski, a couple and business partners, run the kennels.

Strozenski told the Times, “It all just got out of hand. This wasn’t backyard breeding. Things just went sideways.”

Despite that, the dogs showed signs of neglect. Some had masses and infections. Others had parasites.

Helping Hands for Pups in Need

Thankfully, the SPCA rescued the dogs when they needed help the most. Monmouth County wrote this on its Facebook page:

“Our team was there since 8am this morning helping to remove animals from the squalor and bring them to safety. All of these dogs seem to have had limited human contact and minimal to no veterinary care… The bulk of these dogs are Parson Russell Terriers and came from a breeder who was once a Westminster Show winner.”

This is truly shocking. How could a couple known for raising such a well-cared for dog do something so horrific?

The SPCA needed funds to support their new residents. Generous donators gave more than $22,000 for the dogs. Also, SPCA created an Amazon wishlist where well-wishers can donate items to care for the dogs.

So far, no charges have been filed against the homeowners/breeders.

In response to this horrific news, American Kennel Club spokesperson Brandi Hunter said, “We are saddened to hear about this situation and do genuinely hope that these dogs get the care they need and deserve and end up in loving homes.”

This situation is truly terrible. The one small silver lining is that some dogs were in good enough condition to be adopted now. They are now under the care of St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center. Unfortunately, other pups will need extensive rehabilitation.

We wish all of these dogs a speedy recovery and wonderful forever homes!

H/T This Dogs Life
Featured image c/o Monmouth County SPCA Facebook

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