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19 large dogs rescued from squalid conditions in abandoned mansion

By WABC Staff

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    PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) — Animal Control rescued 16 German shepherds and three Dobermans from what officials called the dilapidated basement of a once shining mansion in New Jersey Tuesday.

Authorities say the 19 dogs were being kept by a squatter, who was allegedly staying in the Paterson home and breeding the dogs in horrendous conditions.

Now, the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge (RBARI) in Oakland has joined forces with Second Chance Pet Adoption League of West Milford to lead the rescue effort.

The dogs were reported to be weak and malnourished, appearing to have been cramped into cages, with multiple large dogs to a cage.

Feces covered the entire house, even the walls, and spots on the floor inside the cages show evidence of dogs digging to escape.

The dogs are a range of ages, from young adults to seniors.

Sadly, the alleged breeder left with at least one puppy.

Several of the dogs are seniors in need of immediate medical care, and working with John DeCando, the city’s chief animal control officer, rescues immediately pulled the dogs and sought help from area rescues.

Additional rescues have since joined the force, and the dogs are going into the loving care of Somerset Regional animal shelter, Randolph animal shelter, and Montclair animal shelter, as well as RBARI and Second Chance.

Rescue is still needed for six of the dogs, and anyone interested in adoption can email or complete an application at

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