- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

HOWELL, N.J. (AP) - A couple accused of having 276 dogs in their bi-level New Jersey home have pleaded not guilty to more than 550 counts of animal cruelty.

A Howell Township municipal court judge entered the pleas for Charlene and Joseph Handrik during a brief hearing Wednesday. The couple declined to comment afterward.

The Handriks face 276 counts of animal cruelty accusing them of providing inhumane living conditions and 276 more alleging they failed to get veterinary care. They could face fines and penalties if found guilty.

Prosecutors say the dogs lived in deplorable conditions at the couple’s home in Howell but were in relatively good health.

The dogs were discovered June 3 after an animal control officer was called to find a dog that had gotten loose. They’re being cared for at shelters.

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