Animals Rescued from Irresponsible Breeder
Last fall, humane investigators, dog control officers, volunteers from local and distant shelters, rescue groups, and NYSHA volunteers assisted NY State Police in an animal rescue. A large number of animals were living in squalor on the property of a backyard dog breeder in the Albany area. The dogs were chained to dilapidated dog houses that let in more of the elements than they kept out. Many of the dogs were malnourished and suffered from sarcoptic mange and other serious medical problems resulting from overcrowding and neglect. Almost fifty dogs, as well as numerous other animals, were removed from the property.
Neighbors had complained to humane agencies and police about the conditions in which the dogs were kept. It was reported that sometimes the dogs were not fed for two to three days at a time. In addition, several people who had seen ads in the paper and purchased puppies from the breeder had complained to humane investigators that the animals were ill after they got them home.
Because of these complaints, State Police and humane investigators visited the property and informed the breeder of what he needed to do to bring conditions into compliance with the law. It soon became obvious that he chose not to follow their instructions. On one subsequent visit, the State Police observed a shepherd puppy so malnourished that the officer insisted that the owner take it to a veterinarian where it died a short time later.
This evidence, coupled with the other complaints, enabled the State Police to apply for a search and seizure warrant to enter the property. In conjunction with the humane investigators at a local shelter, State Police coordinated an animal rescue plan.
The main challenge was the large number of animals that had to be removed. The assortment of dogs included shepherds, hounds, a spaniel, as well as numerous mixed breeds — some of whom were unsocialized. Experienced handlers dealt with the dangerous dogs and volunteers dealt with the other animals. Once at the shelter, NYSHA volunteers worked with the police photographer to assign each dog an identification number for evidence purposes; after which, a veterinarian examined each dog. Most were malnourished, had mange, and were infested with internal parasites. Some also suffered from severe diarrhea. Because of their medical problems and debilitated state, some of the dogs had to be humanely euthanized.
The next group to pose a retrieval problem were the sundry assortment of approximately 100 ducks, geese, chickens, and roosters that were housed in pathetic conditions. These unfortunate creatures were kept in closet-like wooden structures with no windows; they never saw the light of day. A couple inches of foul water and feces covered the floors. A majority of the birds were malnourished, infested with parasites, and suffered from foot diseases. Several simply could not walk. After being checked in as evidence, these animals went into foster care at the homes of volunteers in the area who had facilities to care for them.
Several goats and rabbits were also unhappy captives on the property. They were all extremely emaciated. The police and humane investigators suspected that the breeder may have fed rabbits and chickens to the dogs because they found some partially eaten bodies in front of the dilapidated dog houses.
The team succeeded in removing all the animals and having them examined by a veterinarian. It was a smooth rescue operation, and the breeder was charged with numerous counts of cruelty. Many animals still remain in foster care with volunteers who want to provide them with a permanent homes if the impounding shelter obtains permanent custody. The remaining animals, including dogs, goats, and rabbits are being housed at several humane shelters until the case is adjudicated.
As part of the outcome of this case, we hope that the court uses the law to prohibit this breeder from ever owning dogs again. We hope that no animals have to endure such miserable lives and deaths. We will let you know the outcome.
How you can help:
- Write letters to “the editor” of your local newspaper encouraging citizens to report animal cruelty and police to investigate it.
- Write or call your state legislators to encourage them to expand the felony animal cruelty law to include farm animals. The new session is starts soon, so act now.
- Send a donation to NYSHA, to allow us to continue our workshops which educate police and humane investi gators on the effective enforcement of the anti-cruelty laws.
New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XIV, No.24 Winner 2000.