Two Cape May County residents who are charged with animal cruelty in an alleged case of dog-hoarding pleaded not guilty Friday in state Superior Court.

Dawn Scheld, Kevin Scheld and Leroy Thomas Jr. all face third-degree counts of animal cruelty. Dawn Scheld and Kevin Scheld pleaded not guilty. The arraignment for Leroy Thomas Jr. was postponed to Feb. 18 because he did not have a lawyer present.

Leann Thomas, who was charged with conspiracy, also pleaded not guilty.

The charges stemmed from a Dec. 18 raid in which 57 dogs were seized from a home in the Goshen section of Middle Township owned by Dawn Scheld and Leroy Thomas Jr. Investigators said they found several dead dogs buried on the property and surviving animals living in waste.

The defendants declined to comment on the charges after their brief arraignment.

Investigators said the family was hoarding dogs they rescued from shelters.

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