The Brick women charged in December with animal cruelty after nearly 180 dogs and cats were found in their ranch-style home in the Midstreams neighborhood will remain free without bail pending their trial.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office filed a motion with the court asking for the pair to be remanded after they were accused of violating a judge’s order to have no contact with animals as well as no contact with the 16-year-old daughter of one of the suspects. According to prosecutors, the two women went to a county animal shelter in Stafford Township in January demanding the return of a certain number of the dogs, and were there alongside the teenager.
The suspects, Aimee Lonczak, 49, and Michele Nycz, 58, both of Brick, are also charged with endangering the welfare of a child due to the squalid conditions in the home, which necessitated a response from a HAZMAT team due to the vile stench and presence of animal feces throughout the property. There have also been unconfirmed reports that someone was living in a van on the property. Last week, Brick officials placed a lien on the Arrowhead Park Drive home to cover a portion of the cleanup costs.
Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan denied the motion to remand the suspects to the custody of the Ocean County Jail while they await trial.
The pair have already appeared in court on multiple occasions pursuant to the ongoing case. On Jan. 10, 2023, Nycz attempted to have the no-contact order with the juvenile lifted; that request was denied by the Superior Court Judge Linda G. Baxter. Nine days later, Brick police were contacted by management of the Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter in Stafford Township, who reported reported that Lonczak and Nycz were at the shelter demanding the return of “their dogs.” The shelter ultimately refused to turn over the dogs to the defendants.
While Ryan denied the request to revoke pre-trial release, he imposed an additional condition on the defendants’ release, specifically ordering that they are to have no contact with animal shelters or pet stores. Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said it is the opinion of his office that the two should be precluded from having contact with animals on a permanent basis.