A shocking case of animal cruelty and child endangerment has emerged in New Jersey, leading to the arrest of a couple. Brandon Leconey, 32, and Rebeccah Halbach, 35, were taken into custody after police discovered a 9-year-old child living in their squalid home, surrounded by dozens of dead foster dogs. The couple is accused of accepting money from animal rescue groups to care for the dogs, but instead, they allegedly allowed the animals to starve to death.
The investigation into Leconey and Halbach was initiated after a North Carolina animal rescue organization became suspicious about the welfare of the dogs they had sent to the couple for fostering. Representatives from Tender Mercies Pet Organization visited the couple’s home and promptly alerted the police upon witnessing the distressing conditions. Two of the organization’s dogs have since been recovered.
Upon speaking with Leconey and Halbach, the police found over 30 deceased canines inside the residence, which was described as “despicable.” Shockingly, there were also live dogs confined in cages alongside the deceased animals. Fourteen dogs were found alive, but nine of them were in such poor health that they had to be transported to a local animal hospital. Additionally, numerous cats and rabbits were discovered on the premises. Tragically, one dog had to be euthanized due to its deteriorating condition. The extent of the animal deaths is estimated to be as high as 100, with some buried on the property.
Amidst the nauseating pet cemetery, authorities found a 9-year-old child living in the home. Due to the unhealthy conditions, the child was immediately removed from the premises and is now in the custody of the New Jersey Division of Child Protection & Permanency.
Leconey has been booked at the Burlington County Jail pending a detention hearing, while Halbach is undergoing a medical evaluation at a hospital for an unrelated condition. Once cleared, she will be taken into custody. Police are currently searching the residence for additional evidence, and animal cruelty charges are expected to be filed once the exact number of dogs involved is determined.