UNION TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WABC) — A dog sitter in New Jersey was charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty after responding officers walked into a horrific scene.

In December, officers were sent to a home on Gates Terrace in Union Township after receiving a complaint about animals fighting in a backyard.

When officers arrived they found one dog mauling another and soon realized the dog being attacked was dead.

They also found Vickens Moscova laying in the doorway to the backyard with cuts to both of his hands.

Moscova was a dog sitter and attempted to break up the fight between the dogs when he was attacked.

The five remaining dogs and one cat were taken by animal control while keeping the aggressive dog isolated.

All of the dogs were wearing shock collars and tied to the fence in the backyard on tethers that were less than 15 feet long.

Owners were notified and reunited with their animals and said they had never agreed to have shock collars put on their dogs.

The owner of the aggressive dog said they told Moscova their pet did not get along with other dogs and needed to be separated.

Moscova didn’t heed the owner’s instructions which led to the violent death of the other dog.

Another one of the dogs was in Moscova’s care for several week lost about 15 pound and had matted fur when animal services removed the pet from his home.

Investigators found that Moscova was advertising his services on Rover.com and found his clients through that website.

Moscova faces several charges of animal cruelty and will appear in court on May 3.

Rover.com has since removed Moscova from their website, but he has not been banned from being a pet sitter in New Jersey.

Union Township Police warned owners to be cautious when hiring pet sitters to avoid putting their pets in harmful situations.

We encourage all responsible pet owners to do research and not hire someone merely because of a listing on a website,” a release from the police department read. “Getting personal recommendations from a trusted friend or neighbor is always a good idea. Before you agree to have someone as a pet sitter, check out the location and conditions of the pets currently being housed.”

The police department is looking for anyone else who may have pets that experienced cruelty while in the care of Moscova.

If your pet was harmed or you have additional information about this incident please contact Detective Theissen at [email protected] or 908-851-5030.

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