East Aurora Advertiser

Town and SPCA Confiscate 30 Dogs from Aurora Home

There were 30 dogs confiscated from a Town of Aurora home on Quaker Road after the animals were found to be living in a “deplorable” situation. 

The Aurora Town Highway Department, East Aurora Police and the local SPCA have been involved in the situation. At this time, the owner of the home has not been located. Based on state law, because the owner did not come and claim the animals within a certain time frame, they could be put up for adoption. 

There were six dogs confiscated by the Town of Aurora Dog Control Officer and they have already found new homes as of Friday, Feb. 4. The other 24 dogs were obtained by the SPCA.

Aurora Highway Superintendent David Gunner said the situation started on Saturday, Jan. 29 around 2 a.m. East Aurora police were called to 541 Quaker Road for a report of barking dogs. Upon arrival, the officer saw the six dogs outside in a “makeshift pen” held together by wire fencing, a chair, duct tape, wooden posts and zipties. The police report stated it was 0 degrees Fahrenheit outside with a wind-chill reading of negative 9 degrees. The inside of the pen also had frozen water, frozen food and frozen feces in the 8-foot by 8-foot area. It also said there were “three uninsulated temporary and inadequate plastic shelters.”

This home is located at 541 Quaker Road in Aurora. Police and the SPCA reportedly removed 30 dogs from the home. Photo by Marty Wangelin

There was no owner on-site at the time. Gunner was contacted by one of the dog control officers soon after – Gunner is also the director of the dog department – and the decision was made to take the animals from the pen because of the cold weather and poor living conditions. He said they appeared to be a goldendoodle breed.

“It was just deplorable,” he said. 

While removing the dogs, Gunner said he could hear at least two other dogs barking inside the home. Later that day, officials went back to the home to try and make contact with the owner, but no one was there. By Sunday, there was still no contact from the homeowner and Gunner said there was a concern for the welfare of the other dogs inside the home as it did not appear they had been fed in that time frame. Neighbors said that the owner’s car was not on-site and likely not home, but officials were also worried someone could be trapped inside and in need of assistance. 

A court order was issued to allow police to enter the home on Monday, Jan. 31. At that time, officers found 24 more dogs, all similar to the breed taken on Saturday. Gunner said it appeared “obvious that it was a pet breeding operation.” There is no kennel license approved for the Quaker Road home and none of the dogs were registered in the Town of Aurora.

Update, Feb. 8, 5:15 p.m.: An updated East Aurora police report on the matter details the matter of getting into the home. It states that upon entry, there were 10 to 12 small dogs in crates that were stacked upon themselves and most crates had two to three dogs in each. The reporting officer wrote that he observed “horrendous conditions for both dogs and humans. Trails were made through mounds of six to seven feet of garbage, and the larger dogs were contained in areas also made by large piles of debris/garbage. ”

One of the goldendoodle dogs confiscated by the Aurora dog control officer. This is the dog just before it was groomed at East Aurora Pet Boutique. Image from Rachel Weiner

Along with the dogs, there were three birds and two rabbits. They were also removed from the home.  

The SPCA Serving Erie County was contacted as the Town of Aurora does not have the resources to confiscate and take care of that many dogs. Gunner said having six in the town’s kennel at one time was already a challenge. 

Guner said the home was a mess and the town’s code enforcement officer was called in. After a review, the home was condemned to human occupancy.

While 30 dogs were confiscated in total, Gunner said one of the dogs with the SPCA gave birth soon after and there were at least six puppies now added to that total. 

The owner of the home has not been located as of Feb. 7. Neighbors told officials that the owner was seen at some point on Sunday, taking things out of the home. According to the Erie County Real Property website, the owner is Charlene Zielinski. Charges from the Town of Aurora will be filed against her for having unlicensed dogs and not having a kennel permit. These are all violations. Gunner said the SPCA could file its own charges in regards to the 24 other dogs. 

With the six dogs taken by the Town of Aurora, because no one came forward to claim the dogs within a certain time frame, state law stipulates that the dogs can be put up for adoption. Gunner said as of last Friday, all six had new homes and were doing well. 

He and Highway Clerk Liz Deveso said housing the dogs was made easier after contributions came in from the community. They posted on Facebook a request for donations like blankets and newspapers when the dogs were first confiscated and immediately had many people reaching out to help.

“The public helped right away,” Deveso said. “We had things within half an hour. I was amazed by the generosity.”

Dr. Peter Kanter of Southtowns Equine Hospital also donated his time and services to look over the dogs and give them a rabies vaccine. The dog control department was also allowed to use the dog wash services at Sammy’s Car Wash for free, but it was determined the fur was too matted and the animals needed proper grooming.

The grooming in process at East Aurora Pet Boutique.

Rachel and Rob Weiner of East Aurora Pet Boutique were contacted and agreed to bring the dogs in at no charge for grooming and leashes. It took most of the day for groomers Jennifer Kyriakidis and Lauren Kazimer to do the work. 

“The dogs were just soaked through with urine and feces,” Kazimer said. 

One of the goldendoodles after it was groomed.

Kyriakidis said the dogs did not look abused and had weight to them, but the fur was bad. It was determined the easiest step was to groom off nearly all the fur except around the face and feet. She said the dogs were nervous, but had a good temper to them while on site.

Groomers Jennifer Kyriakidis and Lauren Kazimer of East Aurora Pet Boutique on Persons Street cleaned the six dogs originally taken in by the Aurora dog control officer. The work was done free of charge. Photo by Adam Zaremski

The SPCA was contacted for a comment about its work in the case, but had not responded as of Feb. 8. It is expected those animals would also be put up for adoption soon. 

Gunner said he was grateful that the six dogs were off to new homes and thanked the SPCA for its help.

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