Charges are expected to be filed against a couple who had 276 dogs living in their bi-level home.

Ross Licitra, executive director and police chief of the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he hopes to meet with the county prosecutor's office this week. Officials said the home was in deplorable condition when they found the dogs last week.

Licitra said he doesn't want the Howell couple sent to jail, noting they have cooperated with authorities. But he feels some form of punishment is needed, such as a ban or limit on how many animals they can own.

"These people have very limited means, and we understand that," Licitra told the Asbury Park Press. "We have to send a message that this is unacceptable. In the overall picture, the sheer magnitude of this, that the dogs had to live in those conditions, it's not OK."

Licitra says the dogs are small breeds and are doing well and will be put up for adoption. But two have since given birth, and officials say as many as 25 more may be pregnant. That could yield about 100 more dogs, SPCA officials said.

All the dogs are being cared for at shelters.

"This is the first time out of that house in their lives, but they are adjusting nicely," Licitra said.