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Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III and Col. Frank Rizzo, Superintendent of the NJ SPCA Law Enforcement Division announced today that on January 14, 2014, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJ SPCA) Humane Police arrested Theresa D. Carlson, President and Director of the Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter, located at 576 Stamets Rd., Milford NJ.


According to Prosecutor Kearns, “Theresa D. Carlson, 84, of Milford, was charged with 18 counts of animal cruelty for failure to provide proper sustenance to nine cats at the shelter. The charges were filed as a result of a joint investigation by the NJ SPCA, the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, the NJ Department of Health, and the NJ Department of Agriculture.”


The 18 animal cruelty charges filed carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or up to $18,000 in fines and $20,000 in restitution. Ms. Carlson was released on her own recognizance and a hearing date is pending.

According to Col. Rizzo, “Shortly after the arrest, the NJ SPCA filed a petition in the Chancery Division of the Hunterdon County Superior Court requesting that the court remove Carlson as President and Director of the Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter and appoint the NJ SPCA as the receiver. It is expected that the court will issue a decision on that petition on Wednesday, January 15, 2014.”


Capt. Rick Yocum, President of the NJ SPCA, stated, “The American Humane Association will be assisting NJ SPCA veterinarians in providing resources and services including shelter decontamination, sterilization, medical and behavioral assessment, and adoptions. In addition, PetSmart Charities has signed on to assist in providing the much needed supplies. We have also filed a number of grant applications with several national animal welfare groups to assist in this unfortunate situation.”


The filing of a criminal complaint is merely a step in the criminal justice process. The defendant is presumed innocent until the matter is resolved in a court of law.

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-321-0010 or by going to www.crimestoppershunterdon.com, or text messaging “HCTIPS” plus your tip message to 274637 (CRIMES). Tipsters can also download the free mobile app “Tipsubmit” and select Hunterdon County to submit anonymous tips via text messaging. All tips are anonymous and kept confidential.