Charges pending against homeowner found with more than 40 dogs living in squalor

A Roselle man will be charged with multiple criminal offenses after more than 40 dogs were discovered living in severely unsanitary and inhumane living conditions in his home last week, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) jointly announced Wednesday.

Members of those two agencies, the Roselle Police Department, and the Roselle Board of Health last Thursday searched the home of Evelio J. Calderon, 40, of the 700 block of Thompson Avenue in Roselle.

Inside, investigators forced to wear full hazardous materials suits found the animals living in squalor, having been locked inside and forced to relieve themselves indoors for an indeterminate amount of time. The dogs ranged in age from puppies to seniors, varying widely in breed and size, and several were treated on site for acute injuries that included open sores, malnourishment, joint problems, and eye issues.

Despite the medical issues, most of the dogs were expected to survive. Two were suspected to be suffering from shock and taken to local veterinarians for immediate emergency treatment.

Members of the Cranford-based Traveling Paws Animal Rescue assisted in attending to the dogs, which were taken four shelters scattered across New Jersey, including the St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, The Last Resort Animal Rescue in West Milford, and the Edison and Montclair municipal animal shelters. Darcy Del Castillo, supervisor  of the Associated Humane Societies based in Newark, arranged for the dogs’ placement and transport.

The investigation was led by SPCA Investigator Tatiana Verenicin-Chan and assisted by Union County Assistant Prosecutor Patricia Cronin and Prosecutor’s Office Detective Vito Colacitti, the newly assigned leaders of the humane animal treatment subsection of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit.

Anyone with information about this matter or similar incidents is urged to contact Cronin at 908-527-4169 or Colacitti at 908-527-4387.

These are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.