A man was arrested and 21 dogs were seized after officials shut down a Jersey Shore pet grooming shop that may have been used as a puppy mill.
After receiving an anonymous tip, animal control officers raided the Picture Perfect Pets store on Route 9 in Toms River last week. When they arrived, they say they found several dogs, many of them Shih Tzus, poodles and yorkies, in extremely poor health and living in “deplorable conditions.”
“They were in very rusty cages,” said Jim Bowen of the Toms River Animal Facility. “The conditions were all mostly overcrowded. Almost all had no food and water at the time. They were all underweight, flea-ridden and had ear mites.”
Officials with the Ocean County Health Department shut down the store, which is advertised as a professional grooming shop. Investigators say it may have been a puppy mill.
“The evidence just led us to believe it was a breeding operation,” Bowen said. “The dogs were varying ages, all intact, meaning unsprayed, unneutered and with several puppies on sight as well.”
The shop’s owner, Kerry Wombough, was arrested and charged with numerous counts of animal cruelty.
The dogs received veterinary care and are now recovering at the Toms River Animal Shelter. Investigators are currently using the animals as evidence as the investigation continues.
“There may be more charges coming down,” Bowen said. “We’re still investigating at this point.”