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Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter director arrested for animal abuse

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 15 2014 05:04:10 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 06:35:12 PM CST

A woman entrusted to care for needy animals in Hunterdon County, New Jersey is charged with doing just the opposite.

HUNTERDON COUNTY, N.J. -

A woman entrusted to care for needy animals in Hunterdon County, New Jersey is charged with doing just the opposite.

The now-former director of the Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter is facing more than a dozen counts of animal cruelty.

New Jersey authorities say neglect toward nine cats inside the shelter led to 84 year old Theresa Carslon, the head of the shelter, to be arrested and charged with 18 counts of animal cruelty.

"It's hard to believe because, she loves animals and I can't believe she would ever not feed them," volunteer Janette Dowe said.

"It's not her job to feed the cats. She has employees to feed the animals and clean the cages," added fellow volunteer Mary Ellen Soldavin

Both are long time volunteers, running the shelter thrift shop. They say Carlson has been the shelter's leader for decades and say the animals are well taken care of.

However the New Jersey SPCA says the shelter has had issues for years, and this latest incident involved the nine cats not being properly fed.

Wednesday afternoon Hunterdon County courts ruled to remove Carlson from her post.

The State SPCA will now take over the shelter.

State and local Departments of Health are responsible for inspections and licensing of animal shelters.

The state SPCA is now expected to make changes and improvements to Carlson's shelter.

"It's such bad publicity for the shelter. We have animals at heart and do want them to be adopted," Dowe added.

Carlson faces up to six months in jail, $18,000 in fines and $20,000 in restitution.

She did not return our calls for comment.