Animal hoarder charged with death of 20 pets


Photo courtesy of Robin Buoncuore

 By Michael Williams/Today’s Sunbeam from

SALEM — An alleged animal hoarder was indicted recently on animal cruelty charges in connection with an incident earlier this year when 20 of her pets burned to death while trapped in a horse trailer.

Brenda S. Rhodes, 60, was indicted by a Salem County Grand Juryon third-degree animal cruelty for allegedly causing the death of 12 cats, five dogs and three exotic birds, which were all killed when a horse trailer she’d been keeping them in caught fire on Jan. 3.

Rhodes, who was previously described by authorities as being homeless, was allegedly living in the horse trailer with the 20 animals on a remote farm off New Road in Oldmans Township when the blaze occurred.

Officials said she was allegedly using a propane heater inside the trailer to provide warmth for herself and the animals, which is believed to have caused the fire.All of the animals were trapped inside the trailer, many in cages, as the fire consumed the vehicle.

Rhodes reportedly was not at the farm at the time of the blaze.

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Animal hoarder charged with death of 20 pets that perished in South Jersey trailer fire |