KINGWOOD — Authorities removed 170 dogs from several buildings on a Hunterdon County property on Tuesday as part of an animal cruelty investigation that so far has not resulted in any arrests. The homeowner had previously surrendered 30 dogs and authorities this week also found other dogs that had died, officials said.

Workers from St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals and state trooper based in Kingwood took all day to remove the dogs, according to Hunterdon County Acting Prosecutor Michael J. Williams.

Williams has not ruled out criminal charges after the dogs were found in deplorable conditions with open sores and infections.

Williams did not publicly release the identity and address of the homeowner and declined to answer additional questions about the case.

Monmouth County SPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra said the home owner is a longtime professional breeder and had been involved with show dogs but did not know how he got into the situation.

Workers from the Monmouth County SPCA remove a dog crate (Monmouth County SPCA)

Most of the dogs found on the property were small Jack Russell terrier dogs and a few other small breeds, according to Licitra. Most of the dogs were living inside.

"Unfortunately, there were some deceased dogs that were there. Like any other normal hoarding situation, there was just a massive amount of dogs that needed to be gathered that weren't being cared for properly," Licitra said.

Dogs rescued from a Hunterdon County property in June 2019 (MCSPCA)

Licitra said that the worst hoarding case he was involved with was a case in Howell where 340 dogs were found in a home in November 2016 but "this one is right up there."

"When you have that many dogs, it is virtually impossible to care for them all properly the way they need to do. That's generally what we always see in a hoarding situation. It's a lack of care that we see as opposed to intentional abuse on a dog. But the lack of care is just as serious as the intended abuse," Licitra said.

Dogs rescued from a Hunterdon County property in June 2019. (Facebook, Monmouth County SPCA)

Licitra said the Monmouth County SPCA took in 27 dogs that need to be examined, treated for any medical ailments, cleaned and bathed before being offered for adoption.

Both St. Hubert's and the MCSPCA are accepting donations for the care of the dogs.

"We appreciate any support from the public to help us get through this," Licitra said, adding that both groups are nonprofit organizations.

Williams asked anyone with information about the dogs to call Crime Stoppers at 800-321-0010.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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