(PUPPY MILL) The town of Gorham in New York had a meeting yesterday to discuss a very worrisome puppy mill opening. The owners of the facility abandoned their previous location in Seneca County in view of animal abuse violations. Residents of Gorham are worried that the animals at this mill will be once again mistreated. The owners are still waiting on another permit before they can open their business operation. Take action to stop this puppy mill from opening it’s doors once again.— Global Animal
Dog breeders who recently received approval to open a breeding facility on Route 247, north of the intersection of Lake to Lake Road, violated federal regulations at their current location in Seneca County, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture documents.
The USDA cited Jolene Martin with failing to provide veterinary care at the dog breeding facility in Varick, Seneca County. Specific findings involved a boxer “with a lip that appeared split open and swollen,” a female husky “recently in a fight” who had “multiple injuries to the right ear and left paw,” and dirty empty whelping boxes with “an accumulation of rodent droppings in the whelping boxes … adjacent to enclosures housing young puppies and their mother.”
The USDA documented that between Nov. 23, 2010 and Jan. 5, 2011, “a male Shitzu was matted with feces in mats around the feet and long nails,” several dogs had dirty ears emanating strong odor and a Maltese “was observed with dried blood on its back fur that originated from the dog’s tail which was split open.”
Mary Anne Kowalski, a volunteer with the Seneca County SPCA and the New York State Humane Association, said her organizations are familiar with the breeding operation of Curtis and Jolene Martin because of the violations that considered “among the worst” in the state.
A recent USDA inspection dated Nov. 8, 2011 shows no complaints or violations at the breeding facility the Martins operate at 4520 Route 89.
Reached by phone earlier this week, Curtis Martin said he didn’t want to talk publicly about their plans to build a dog breeding facility on their property at 4446 Route 247. Martin couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
The town Planning Board unanimously granted the Martins a special use permit and site plan to build a facility that could house anywhere from 200 to 600 dogs, depending on the size of the animals. Planning Board Chairman Tom Harvey said the Martins presented detailed engineering and design plans that address environmental issues and adhere to federal specifications for the operation, which must be licensed and monitored by the USDA.
When citing the Martins with violations at their Seneca County facility, which the document said had 349 dogs and 124 puppies, the USDA said “it does not appear that the facility has enough employees to carry out an acceptable level of husbandry for these animals. This needs to be addressed for the welfare of the animals.”
Kowalski said the operation is family-run and, as far as she knows, has no outside employees.
Town zoning officer Gordon Freida said since the special use permit was granted, emails and phone calls have been flooding in from all over the country with strong reactions to the permit. “We have gained national attention,” he said. Comments he has received include: “How could you do this?” and “How could you let this happen?
Freida would still have to issue a building permit pertaining to the structure, planned to be about 8,400 square feet, on the 20-acre lot that has two barns and house on it. He said the dog breeding facility, like other businesses ranging from marinas to dog kennels and veterinary hospitals, needed a special use permit because the town does not list them as permitted uses. Freida said he didn’t know whether the town could flat-out ban a dog-breeding operation.
Jennifer Baxter, a Gorham resident who volunteers with local animal-welfare groups such as Lollypop Farm (Humane Society of Greater Rochester), said she is very concerned about her town housing a “puppy mill.”
“They are designed to maximize profits and commonly disregard the physical, social, and emotional health of the dogs,” said Baxter.
Melissa Henchen, president and founder of Going to the Dogs Rescue in Perry, Wyoming County, a shelter that covers western New York, said a dog breeding facility also raises fiscal concerns. In addition to the facility not paying dog licensing fees like owners of pets do, these facilities contribute to increasing the population of unwanted dogs who end up in shelters, she said. While dog breeders make money off selling the dogs to pet stores, the dogs may ultimately end up in shelters because either they can’t be sold or the new owners discover they can’t afford to keep the dog or the dog isn’t the right fit for their household.
Towns and counties that house dog breeders can also be stuck with bills to address complaints and expenses tied to a potential shutdown of such a facility, with the welfare of hundreds of dogs needing to be addressed.
“They’re not only not making money off the deal … on top of that they will have to pay more money,” Henchen said.