CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. -- A third defendant surrendered and an Englewood veterinarian saved more than half of 81 sick and emaciated cats found crammed into stacks of cages in a West New York apartment, Daily Voice has learned.
Dr. Nurhan Ezik of the Englewood Veterinary Center worked until 1 a.m. Saturday examining each and every animal -- including five dogs found in closets, said Vincent Ascolese, animal control officer with Bergen County Protect & Rescue in Cliffside Park.
Ezik went to the scene "due to the horrific condition of the animals sent to his office," he said.
The rescue agency was sheltering the dogs and 41 cats saved by Ezik.
"Many had been micro-chipped, but the owners never registered them," Ascolese told Daily Voice. "All animals had fleas and will need to be vetted before they are adoptable."
Those euthanized "had respiratory problems, ringworm and skin conditions," he said. "They had open wounds and obvious recent bite wounds. They were suffering and in such distress."
The cages were stacked in a bedroom and bathroom -- with six to eight sick and emaciated cats sharing a single cage amid urine and feces, Ascolese said. The process of removing and transferring them took more than 12 hours, he said.
Charged with 86 counts of animal cruelty each were a mother and daughter, as well as the mother's lover, who turned herself in. Pet owners apparently paid them to take the unwanted animals off their hands, authorities said.
A neighbor alerted investigators to the "horrific, deplorable" situation on Friday.
Several West New York municipal agencies quickly responded -- including police, OEM officials and representatives from the mayor's office. They summoned Bergen County Protect & Rescue.
"Everyone worked collectively and dilligently to expedite sending the animals in the gravest condition to Dr. Ezik's office," Ascolese said. "After examining and administering emergency care, he felt it necessary that he be on site to assist in the rescue due to the horrific condition of the animals who arrived at his office."