County commissioners narrowly approved a conditional use application for a longtime dog breeding kennel on…
SHAMONG, NJ (CBS) – A fire destroyed a dog kennel on the same Shamong property where dozens of dead dogs were found in freezers in 2018. Fire crews were called to the 500 block of Oakshade Road, circa 10:30 a.m. Friday.
Investigators remained at the scene for hours following the kennel fire this morning. While the fire was shocking enough, it’s not the first time the owner, Donna Roberts, has been investigated.
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The infamous kennel is no more, after catching fire. Although authorities confirmed that no dogs were on the property at the time, the flames still warranted an intervention by the state fire marshal.
“There were state troopers, and there was Evesham Township, Indian Mills, Shamong, Tabernacle, all the fire companies were here and no one else came into the house,” said Ashlee Silpath of Champs Doghouse.
The fire marshal struggled to gain access, saying Roberts refused to let them into her home. They had to get a warrant.
Burlington County prosecutors say the address is a known puppy mill and breeding site. Eyewitness News was on the property in 2018 when Roberts was arrested, after 160 dogs were rescued from dire conditions and 44 dogs were found dead in freezers.
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In December 2019, there were new allegations of animal abuse at home when neighbors heard dogs barking and whining after being left out in the cold overnight. Several dogs were rescued. A family member received a subpoena for animal cruelty.
Silpath is waiting to rescue any dogs that might need it.
“I believe there are dogs in there, I mean it. Rescuers believe there are dogs in there. It has been reported several times since its rating. It’s her and, I think, her daughter and son-in-law are all involved, absolutely. It’s just unfortunate,” Silpath said.
As part of Roberts’ previous legal troubles, she is not allowed to own any dogs or cats while her case is pending trial. She had previously been charged with animal cruelty.
Officials say the cause of today’s fire is still under investigation.
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CBS3’s Alecia Reid contributed to this report.