A joint effort by animal control officers and a police officer led to the rescue of a mother and her puppies Wednesday in Toms River.
A woman and her children saw two puppies with what appeared to be their mother walking close to Hooper Avenue late Wednesday morning, Ralph Stocco, a spokesman for the Toms River Police Department, said in a release. The woman grabbed the two puppies but the mother fled into the woods, he added.
After contacting authorities, Toms River Animal Control officers Dale Beley, Tom Manolio, and Stacy Garabics arrived, took custody of the puppies, and searched the woods for the mother with township Police Officer Eric Divone, according to Stocco.
While searching the wooded area, the group “located a makeshift den that was dug into the dirt under some pine tree branches approximately fifty feet from the sidewalk adjacent to Hooper Avenue,” Stocco said, who added that several additional puppies were found inside. The mother, who was not in the den, was found five hours later after a “humane trapping device” was set nearby.
The family, determined to be generally in good health, was evaluated and treated by a veterinarian and are now housed in the newly erected animal shelter at 235 Oak Avenue in the township, according to Stocco.
“A search is being conducted to locate the owner of the dogs. However, if no one claims them they will be placed up for adoption after a minimum wait of approximately three weeks. The mother appears to be a Jack Russell Terrier and the puppies, which are approximately five weeks old, are of an unknown mix,” said Jim Bowen, the facility director, who coordinated the rescue.