TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey couple has avoided jail time on animal cruelty charges after authorities say they discovered 68 dead animals in the couple's former home, some so badly decomposed they were unidentifiable.
Officials say they found row after row of cages with the mummified remains of animals. Inside the freezer were the bodies of nearly 30 kittens. Animal waste was everywhere.
The pair has been sentenced to community service after pleading guilty. The husband was also sentenced to five years' probation.
A lawyer for the couple says they were only trying to care for needy animals, but became overwhelmed when they had two children of their own. They abandoned the house about seven months before the gruesome discovery.
Both are forbidden to go near animals as part of their sentences.