PATERSON — 19 dogs living in complete filth that were part of a puppy mill were removed from the once palatial Barbour Mansion on Tuesday.

Police were called Tuesday to the 5.5-acre estate on 39th Street after a buyer reported seeing a squatter on the property. Officers from the Passaic County Sheriff's Office and a representative of the buyer discovered four Dobermans and 15 German shepherds.

Animal control officer John DeCando told New Jersey 101.5 that some of the dogs are "old" with wobbly legs and were living in their own filth in the basement which he described as a "dungeon." There was diarrhea on many of the walls of the house, according to DeCando.

"It was a disaster. There were no lights in the basement. Pitch dark, black. It was like walking into a dark room. That's how these dogs lived," DeCando said.

Injuries to Daphne, one of the dogs rescued from Barour Mansion in Paterson 5/24/22
Injuries to Daphne, one of the dogs rescued from Barour Mansion in Paterson 5/24/22 (Second Chance Pet Adoption League)
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No sign of puppies

DeCando said it appears the dogs were reproducing and the puppies were removed from the house. There was no sign of the puppies also living at the house.

"It's some piece of s**t trying to make money," DeCando said. "There's no such thing as bad animals in the world. There's bad people in the world. We know who owns them. You can run but you can't hide."

Despite their horrific conditions, the dogs had a very friendly disposition. Four have already been placed in foster homes.

"They're excellent. They're beautiful. They would lick you to death," DeCando said. "I'm sure they're happy where they are now."

The dogs were looked over by the Second Chance Pet Adoption League in the Oak Ridge section of West Milford. The rescuers described the dogs as having wagging tails and grateful for any attention. They will eventually be put up for adoption by other rescues, according to the League.

"Like most dogs from puppy mill/breeding situations they likely have no clue about housebreaking and will need some patience and crate-training as they adjust," the league said.

Daphne, one of the oldest dogs rescued from Barbour Mansion in Paterson 5/24/22
Daphne, one of the oldest dogs rescued from Barbour Mansion in Paterson 5/24/22 (Second Chance Pet Adoption League)
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Physically and mentally exhausted

Daphne, the oldest German shepherd is an estimated 8-10 years old and is an example of how the dogs were found. She slept on clean, soft bedding likely for the first time ever Tuesday night, according to the league.

"Most of her teeth are either missing, worn down, or broken. Her hips seem weak, eyes cloudy, fur thin on her face, ears chronically infected and the tips eaten off by flies over the years. She just seems exhausted physically and mentally," the group said on its Facebook page.

DeCando said the mansion was once a beautiful showplace with 14 fireplaces, a library and a wraparound staircase. No one has lived there for 15-20 years, he said.

"It was absolutely stunning. Beautiful," DeCando said.

Barbour Mansion in Paterson
Barbour Mansion in Paterson (Google Street View)
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Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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