Calling it "one of the most distressing animal welfare situations we have encountered," the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge and Second Chance Pet Adoption League said they collaborated on the rescue of 11 dogs and one cat from a New Jersey home.

According to an RBARI Facebook post, the owner of the dozen animals had apparently died in the home days before the pets were discovered, a situation revealed by a police welfare check.

The home was only identified as being in Passaic County.

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"Their person loved and cared for them," RBARI said, but added that the home was in disarray and the dogs had not been let outside. Some of them had refused to leave their owner's side, the shelter said, while others were hiding in closets.

Six of the dogs and the cat, a senior, are receiving treatment at RBARI, in Oakland, and the other five dogs are in the care of Second Chance, in Morris Plains.

The dogs are not housebroken or leash-trained, RBARI said, and are a mix of chihuahuas, Yorkies, and a mix of the two breeds, all between 2 and 7 years old and 5 to 12 pounds.

RBARI said the dogs would do best if some were adopted together, or individually placed in homes with other, compatible dogs. More information can be found here.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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