matthew-teymantLast April after the house in Barnegat, NJ had been abandoned for at least 6 months, after a concerned neighbor called, both police and a Fannie Mae mortgage company rep showed up at the house at 21 Potomac Court to foreclose, they found more than they ever expected, a scene from hell.

Inside the house were animals, dead animals, dozens and dozens of them in all states of decomposition, laying around stuffed in cages, in the freezer, underfoot. There were dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, turtles, a total of 68 dead animals.

Sgt. Thomas Yanisko of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the dead animals included 28 kittens that were wrapped either in towels or plastic bags and placed in a freezer, as well as three large dogs, one a German shepherd that may have been a former police dog. Teymant’s father is a Toms River police canine officer who trained dogs for law-enforcement agencies throughout the state.

“The sights, the smells, the increased feeling of empathy for the poor, pathetic, helpless animals, that is something we will never forget,” Yanisko said.

“They were stuck in these cages, and they couldn’t even have a chance to run to a dripping sink or anything like that. You can just visualize the way these animals ultimately died,” said Yanisko. “The horror they must have gone through just wasting away and not being able to get anything to drink or eat. They just dropped in the house, wherever they happened to be, when they didn’t have any more energy to get up and move. That’s the way that we found them.”

The owners of the home, Matthew Teymant and wife, Amanda Teymant, who had purchased it in 2006. Both were arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

At the time of the arrest Teymant was a dispatcher for the Toms River Police Department and Teymant’s father is a retired K-9 unit police officer. Teymant never returned to his job after his arrest.

Amazingly, Teymant claimed as his defense that he was a rescuer, operating as “Forever Blue Monday Hedgehogs & Rescue” and was trying to save the animals but just got overwhelmed. An animal welfare expert called him a hoarder. When Teymant’s house went into foreclosure he just moved, leaving all the animals to die.

Teymant pleaded guilty to animal cruelty while his wife, Amanda pleaded not guilty and applied for pre-trial intervention.

On Monday as part of a plea bargain, they were both sentenced by Superior Court Judge Barbara Ann Villano , Matthew Teymant to five years’ probation and 250 hours community service, Amanda, 23, was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program that will result in charges being dropped after 18 months and she must perform 100 hours of community service. Both are not allowed to go near animals as part of their sentences.

Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Michael Abatemarco had asked for a county jail term of 364 days for Matthew Teymant as a condition of his probation.

But Villano said she didn’t agree with Abatemarco that incarceration is called for in the case. The judge, in explaining her decision, cited letters she received from Teymant’s neighbors and friends, his lack of any prior criminal history, and the absence of any malfeasance in parenting his two young sons, one 2 years old and the other 10 months. (

One can only hope they never feel “overwhelmed” with their children!

A lawyer for the couple said Matthew Teymant was only trying to care for needy animals, but he and his wife became overwhelmed when they had two children of their own. They abandoned the house about seven months before the gruesome discovery.

Prosecutors had sought 364 days in jail for Matthew Teymant.

But his lawyer, Bradley Billhimer, said Teymant is a caring man who simply got overwhelmed trying to care for too many animals.

‘There’s not a malicious bone in his body,’ Mr Billhimer said.

‘With the birth of his first son, it got to be overwhelming.’ (Straits Times)

With sentences like this, how is anyone going to take animal cruelty seriously?? What kind of message does this send?  I am sick to death of excuses!  There is no excuse! You don’t leave a house full to animals locked in cages to starve to death.  What about justice? Disgusted doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about this total and complete travesty of justice!

If anyone would like to contact the Judge to express their displeasure, here is the contact information. Please remember, be polite! Yelling, screaming, ranting, etc. doesn’t help things, it just makes people who honestly care about the welfare of animals, all of us, look like a bunch of extremists and nutcases.

Judge Barbara Ann Villano
Ocean County Courthouse
100 Washington Street
CN 2191, CrRm 17
Toms River, New Jersey 08753

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