MARLTON, New Jersey (WPVI) — A couple accused of abusing dogs and other animals in their Marlton, New Jersey home in August are facing new charges in connection with the case.
Rebecca Halbach and Brandon Leconey are accused of stealing thousands of dollars by posing as employees of an animal rescue.
“The husband and wife had an affiliation with a local pet rescue. They took that affiliation and created an online presence that was not authorized by the animal rescue, and through that online presence, were using it to defraud people out of money,” said Evesham Police Chief Walt Miller.
Investigators said the couple took over $7,000 to care for the animals. Halbach is now charged with theft by deception and computer crimes, while Leconey is charged and conspiracy to commit theft by deception and conspiracy to commit computer crimes. They were charged with animal cruelty and related charges in August.
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Investigators said the couple would let animals starve to death. They found nearly 50 dead and dying dogs on the property, along with cats, rabbits and an 8-year-old child living in horrible conditions. They believe as many as 100 dogs may have died in the home or were buried on the property.
“What was present in that home was jarring to some pretty senior law enforcement officers, who have seen things, and this will probably stick with them for a while,” said Miller.
Also on Tuesday, police announced another arrest connected with the case.
Kelli Bowen, 54, is charged with burglary. Police said she went to the home while the couple was behind bars and took items pertinent to the case.
Bowen agreed to talk to 6abc about the charges, and said she was working with two animal rescues looking for adoption papers.
“I didn’t get rid of them. I wasn’t trying to cover up a crime or anything, because it was trash,” Bowen said.
She said she was trying to track down missing animals that the couple was being paid to care for.
“There are a lot of rescues looking for dogs that aren’t accounted for, way over 200 dogs,” said Bowen.
Police said more charges against the couple are likely.