N.J. Animal Rescuer Charged with Hoarding Dead Birds

Prosecutors charged Gretchen Rell with taking more than 300 birds to her mother's house for treatment — and letting them starve to death.

New Jersey animal rescuer Gretchen Rell, an Ocean Township resident who volunteered at the Monmouth County SPCA, has been charged with animal cruelty. Philly.com’s Alex Wigglesworth reports Rell is accused by authorities of hoarding more than 300 dead birds.

Prosecutors say Rell took injured birds home for treatment — but instead, most then died of starvation or dehydration. Authorities found hundreds of birds at the home of Rell’s mother March 10.

NJ.com’s Ashley Pescoe reports a wildlife advocate warned the Monmouth County SPCA of Rell’s hoarding. Don Bonica, who Rell worked under as a sub-permitee, dismissed the concerns. “I’ve known Gretchen for eight or 10 years so if Gretchen tells me she doesn’t have birds, which I believe Gretchen over a lady I don’t know,” Bonica told NJ.com in March.

If convicted, Rell could face three to five years in prison.

[Philly.com | NJ.com]