June 8, 2010
Seized dogs on road to recovery
SPCA nursing 25 dogs taken from home of Scott breeder back to health
An emaciated 11-week-old boxer puppy wagged her tail vigorously Monday at the Cortland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, drawn out of her cage by shelter manager Sandy Snyder.
Snyder pointed to the dog’s protruding hip bones and visible ribs, saying the puppy’s apparent poor health is a result of the deplorable conditions in Scott breeder Melissa Allen’s basement.
The puppy, named Zoey, is one of 25 dogs taken from Allen’s home by the SPCA Friday after a search warrant was issued because of a complaint about the breeding conditions.
A cat and a parrot were also seized and will be adopted.
Snyder said the dogs, some as big as an 80-pound adult boxer, were living in airline transport carriers and deprived of natural light and regular exercise.
Pointing to a dog that was spinning in circles inside its cage, Snyder said that is typical behavior for a dog that is used to close confinement where he has no room to walk.
Such dogs continue to spin even when they are in a wide-open space, instead of running or walking.
One adult boxer was euthanized because he was sick and aggressive, Snyder said.
Another 7-week-old boxer puppy was on the verge of death when the dogs were taken Friday but is now recovering well at Snyder’s home, where she will likely remain.
The rest of the dogs are extremely social and adoptable, said Snyder.
At least three adult boxers are being taken by Second Chance Boxer Rescue, an organization out of Buffalo that finds homes for boxers.
Three 7-week-old puppies, the litter mates of the one who was ill, are being sold to people who had already purchased them from Allen.
“Three of the four had been spoken for, so we will follow through on those contracts,” Snyder said. Snyder said each of the new owners said they had bought the puppies to remove them from the conditions they saw at the house, which they described as filthy and smelly.
On Monday, Snyder expected the remaining dogs to be ready for visitation and adoption today. The dogs are mostly cocker spaniel and poodle mixes, called cockapoos.
The dogs will not be adopted out until they are checked by a veterinarian and spayed or neutered.
Two dogs, a cocker spaniel and a cockapoo, are pregnant.
One dog, a friendly 2-year-old cockapoo, has a condition in which her knees turn out and she struggles to hold herself upright. This dog should not have been bred because the extra weight of pregnancy is a burden on her joints, said Snyder, adding that the congenital defect could be passed on to the puppies.
“Responsible breeders do not do these things,” Snyder said.
Allen will likely face misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, said Animal Cruelty Investigator Bill Carr.
He said he is still reviewing all the evidence that was taken from Allen’s home and then he will submit the paperwork to the Cortland County District Attorney’s Office.
Allen could face additional charges.
Allen was not licensed to breed and sell dogs by either the state Agriculture and Markets Department or the American Kennel Club, which would have required site visits. Snyder said there was no record the animals had received veterinary care.
The shelter is accepting monetary donations to fund the veterinary care and spaying and neutering of the dogs as well as care for the puppy litters that will be born shortly.
Snyder said donors should specify that the money is intended for the dogs that were rescued from Allen’s home.
When reached for comment Monday, Allen referenced the four healthy boxer puppies taken from her home and said the 11-week-old dog was just going through a “growth spurt.” Allen then referred all questions to a friend who breeds boxers, Cathy Zimmer.
When pressed about the conditions of her home and the fact she kept the dogs in airline crates, Allen hung up.
Zimmer did not return a phone call for comment by press time.
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