Man faces charges following discovery of animal hoarding in North Bergen

Authorities discovered various breeds of dogs and cats that may have been abandoned in a North Bergen home.

New Jersey Animal Control and Rescue was called out to the residence, at 132 Hillcrest Ave. around 11 am Wednesday.

“This is no way to treat animals; I’m a dog owner myself and I know how difficult it is to care for an animal,” says North Bergen Police Chief Robert Dowd.

56-year-old Juan Perez was previously charged with health violations for not licensing his dogs.

“He was gonna come to court today and at court he would have been arrested and charged with animal cruelty — and we’re here today to take all the animals out and bring them to no-kill shelters,” says Geoff Santini, of NJACR. “And then after that evaluation I will be charging him with animal cruelty.”

Perez was supposed to surrender the dogs.

“But he failed to communicate with me in the last three or four days and the lawyer wasn’t communicating with me so that’s why I came here,” Santini says.

More than 50 pets, including 49 dogs and five cats were taken to area rescue groups.

“Bergen County Protect and Rescue, St. Hubert’s (Animal Welfare Center) is going to come take some animals and Ramapo,” Santini says.

One dog was found dead inside the home and 11 cats also died.

It was an ongoing hoarding situation with an excessive amount of dogs living in that home.

“Until recently it’s become known by neighbors that apparently no one is home,” Dowd says.

And just a large number of animals in general.

“I mean you can even see there’s a family of cats right on top of the gutter right there,” Dowd says.

Yellow labs were even born not too long ago… so it’s about the safety of all the animals from here on out.

“For their well-being we’re gonna get them out,” Dowd says.

A warrant was issued for Perez’s arrest Wednesday morning.  His whereabouts are currently unknown.

Anyone interested in adopting one of the rescued animals can call the North Bergen Health Department at 201-392-2085


About The Author

Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time... Jillian enjoys yoga, working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. She also loves to connect with the community, so feel free to say hi if you see her around, shoot her an e-mail... or follow her @JillianRis .


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