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November 2, 2015 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, Pavilion.


Reggie, on the left, a 3-year-old Rottweiler, and Zoe, a 5-year-old Austrailian shepard, have been missing in the Asbury Road and Route 20 area of Pavilion since yesterday afternoon. Owner Crystal Geitner thinks they may have ran off into the woods chasing a deer. 

If you can assist in locating them, call Jaret (716) 474-1881 or Crystal (716) 560-3644.    

October 13, 2015 - 8:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Calling All Dogs, animals, pets, batavia, business.


We think of dogs who bite, lunge, snarl and bark as aggressive, but that isn't necessarily the case, according to Tori Ganino, co-owner of Calling All Dogs, on Harvester Avenue.

Those behaviors are often a response born of fear, Ganino said, and dogs can be taught to be less fearful in situations they find stressful.

"What we do is train them that these situations aren't so bad, that you don't have to be afraid, you don't have to bite to make the person or thing go away,"  Ganino said. "Instead, we're going to help you feel better about it. So we change their emotional responses from a fearful one to a good one so that when I they see this person coming along, it's not such a bad thing. It's a good thing."

Ganino is a certified animal behavioralist, certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, the only such certified consultant in Genesee County.

The certification process includes more than 400 hours of coursework, 500 hours of work with clients and a 12-part, essay-based exam. Certification also requires ongoing training and keeping abreast of the last research-based behavior and training techniques.

Ganino started on the path toward certification after becoming the owner of a dog who had become fearful after a bad experience with a man in a pet store where the dog had been available for adoption. Ganino said in certain situations, the dog would just shake with fear. She wanted to help her pup handle fearful situations better so she sought some training.

The first training class used what's known as "flooding," which is repeated exposure to the fearful situation until the dog learns not to fear the stimulus any longer, usually by just emotionally shutting down. Ganino didn't feel good about that technique for her dog, so she sought out alternatives and discovered animal behavior training.

"I wanted to find a way to help him feel better about the situation and not put him in a situation he couldn't handle," Ganino said.

Unlike techniques that rely on punishment or dominance, behavioral training is about positive reinforcement for correct behavior.

If a dog snarls and lunges at certain people, the owner shouldn't scold, but rather divert the dog's attention, elicit the desired response and then reward the dog for the correct behavior.

"If he's in a situation where he's growling, he's over the point where he's comfortable with what's going on, so you need to take him away from it so can get him at a place where he's comfortable and then start the training," Ganino said. "That's where the behavior work really starts. You can't reinforce the emotion. You can make changes to get him to feel better, but at the time that he's seeing that person and thinking, 'I'm upset and I'm getting yelled at, too,' he learns that it validates his concerns. He's feeling a threat. It's not a good situation and he's getting yelled at."

Dogs look to their owners for leadership and an owner who is upset in a bad situation is telling a dog "This is a situation where you should be upset."

"With behavior work, we don't say, 'I don't want you to bark at this person,' " Ganino said. "Instead, we say, 'Why don't you look at me. Why don't we go over here and do this.' because 'no' just means stop, but you're not helping him understand what he's supposed to do. When he's lunging at another person, back him up and work with him so he realizes, 'I can look at that person, but what am I supposed to do when I look at him? I'll look back at mom and dad and they'll guide me through it. We'll play. We'll get rewards for it and then we'll go on our way.' "

Ganino owns Calling All Dogs with her husband, Rich, and while Ganino specializes in working with fearful and aggressive dogs, Calling All Dogs offers a range of obedience classes and personal training sessions as well as doggie day care.

A typical six-week class is $99, but on a space-available basis, owners of foster dogs can sign up for free classes.

Well-behaved dogs are socialized, get plenty of exercise and ample mental stimulation. They know what's expected of them and can count on their owners to provide a stable routine. Obedience classes are as much about training the owners as training the dogs, and it helps the owners understand how to avoid situations that maybe their dogs can't handle and then raising the fear factor.

"Any dog can have that emotional change to 'I'm upset and I'm scared,' " Ganino said. "A lot of times biting is a response to 'I'm afraid.' We can help a dog feel better, but it's up to the owners not to put them in situations they're not ready to handle."

October 3, 2015 - 4:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in volunteers for animals, petco, batavia, pets, animals.


This kitty was known as Porky until today, but Porky will soon have a new name, undecided at the time of the picture, says new parent Diana Fox, of Holley.

Fox was one of at least four people to adopt cats today during the Volunteer For Animals 50th Anniversary Fall Fur Event at Petco this afternoon.

The Volunteers for animals will continue the 50th anniversary festivities later this month with its annual Fur Ball. The 12th annual event is at 6 p.m., Oct. 24, at the Days Inn in Batavia. For more information, click here.

September 20, 2015 - 4:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, crime, batavia.


It's been just over a week since Rocky joined our family and during the week I've been asked several times how he's doing.

He's doing great. He's fit in well.

He and Pachuco are getting along fine. As for the cats, they've gotten used to him. If they challenge him, he backs down. If they run, he gives chase, and a sharp "no" usually ends the chase.

He's a ball of energy at times. He's loving and loves to be a companion. 

When we got him, his only apparent discipline training was "sit." I almost have him doing "down" pretty well now. He's walking on leash 100-percent better, at my side with no tugging.

In other words, he's displayed no apparent behavioral problems.  

One thing I forgot to mention in our post about adopting Rocky is a big thank you to the volunteers with Volunteers for Animals and the staff at the Animal Shelter. They obviously did a great job caring for Rocky and they were so, so helpful during our adoption process, full of information and useful advice.  


September 11, 2015 - 4:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, batavia, crime.


Remember Rocky, the dog whom authorities say was scalded by hot water? The owner and her boyfriend where charged with crimes, and the owner surrendered Rocky to the county for adoption.

Rocky walked this week in the Oakfield Labor Day Parade and I was surprised to learn nobody had shown any interest in adopting him. On the spot, he kind of muzzled his way into my heart, so after much thought and conversation with Billie and a couple of visits to the animal shelter, Billie and I decided we would adopt him ourselves.

He's a real sweetheart, very gentle, loves people and other dogs and doesn't care much about cats. We had him with Pachuco in Kiwanis Park today to ensure they would get along, and they hit it off and have been doing well together this afternoon.

We think we can give Rocky a good home.


September 2, 2015 - 9:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, lost pets, batavia.


This orange tabby kept trying to get into the MedTech Center on R. Steven Hawley Drive (across from GCC) this morning. Workers there think it's a house cat who is lost. It's being kept at the nursing office. Call (585) 343-0055, ext. 6355.

August 27, 2015 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, pets, animals.


This kitten was found by staff on school grounds at Alexander Elementary School. It appears to have had recent surgery because of the purple dye on its fur. If it's your cat, contact the school.

UPDATE 2:42 p.m.: The owner has been located.

August 24, 2015 - 8:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, alexander.


A resident of Alexander Road, Alexander, found this apparently lost cat. The cat has a flea collar, so the cat definitely has a home and an owner. Contact 585-813-4560.

August 20, 2015 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, Deer, DEC.

Deer are causing damage in Batavia and residents say the problem is as bad as they can ever remember it, but that doesn't mean a solution will be easy to find.

DEC Biologist Art Kirsch led a two-hour meeting on the issue Wednesday night, but offered no clear answers and said it could take years for Batavia to thin its deer herd to a less destructive level.

City Manager Jason Molino agreed.

"We've got the right folks at the state level to help us," Molino said. "We've just got to get the right folks in the community to participate and try to come up with a solution. Unfortunately, the solution isn't a cookie-cutter solution and I don't think the time frame is either. I don't think what anyone can predict what type of obstacles we might receive in the process."

Several residents told of the problems they face, including Gus Galliford.

"We're concerned about the deer just ravaging our property," Galliford said. "They're coming in numbers we've never seen before. I built my house 25 years ago and lived in the neighborhood all that time, but after this past spring, they're just destroying the whole thing."

The deer have cost his family thousands and thousands of dollars, Galliford said.

Kirsch said an overpopulation of deer are a problem on at least three levels: ecological damage, car accidents and transmission of disease.

His best suggestions for now: fencing, repellents, and fertility control.

Molino suggested the city may need to set up a committee to study the issue and recommend a solution.

Reporting for story provided by The Batavian's news partner, WBTA AM/FM.

August 10, 2015 - 3:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, crime, batavia.
mug_brandonmaldenado.jpg mug_melissabroadbent.jpg
Brandon Maldonado Melissa Broadbent

Melissa Broadbent, a defendant in an animal cruelty case, appeared in City Court this afternoon and surrendered ownership of her dog, a pit bull named Rocky.

Rocky was scaled with hot water sometime around July 20. Broadbent's boyfriend is accused of abusing the dog and Broadbent is accused of facilitating the crime and trying to cover it up.

We reported earlier today that Rocky is at the Animal Shelter and doing much better.

An animal control officer was in court today when Broadbent signed a document turning the dog over to the Sheriff's Office. The change in ownership will allow Animal Shelter volunteers to seek a new home for Rocky.

With Broadbent's agreement, Rocky is spared potential months in confinement at the shelter while her case winds through the legal process.

Broadbent, 36, is charged with: "overdriving, torturing and injuring" an animal; endangering the welfare of a child; first-degree coercion; offering a false written statement; intimidating a witness or victim in the third degree; and owning/harboring an unlicensed dog.

With no prior felony or misdemeanor convictions, Broadbent was released from custody and placed under supervision by Genesee Justice by Judge Robert Balbick.

Broadbent's boyfriend, 26-year-old Brandon M. Maldonado, of 52 Walnut St., is charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal and offering a false written statement. He also appeared in court today.

Maldonado is currently on parole, but his public defender, Jamie Walsh, said he isn't aware of a violation being filed in connection with his arrest and said it's his understanding that Maldonado has been doing well on parole. He asked Balbick to set bail at $5,000 or $10,000 bond.

Robert Zickl, ADA, noted Maldonado does have that felony conviction, plus five misdemeanor convictions and five previous failure to appear charges.

Balbick went along with Zickl's recommendation of bail in the amount of $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.

A pre-trial hearing, also known as a felony hearing, has been set in Maldonado's case for 11:15 a.m., Thursday.

Broadbent, who waived a felony hearing, isn't due back in court until next month. Balbick did sign a stay away order of protection for her and her children and told her to take up any visitation rights with Family Court.

Zickl noted that the Department of Social Services will be investigating the case.

August 10, 2015 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, crime, batavia.


mug_brandonmaldenado.jpg mug_melissabroadbent.jpg
Brandon Maldonado Melissa Broadbent

Rocky, the 2- to 3-year-old pit bull found at a local residence reportedly suffering from second- and third-degree burns from scalding water poured on his back, is doing much better, according to Batavia PD officials.

The boyfriend of the dog's apparent owner and the owner were charged Friday with several crimes related to the incident, including animal cruelty and lying to police about the incident.

The dog was burned around July 20 but the incident wasn't reported to police until Aug. 3.

Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan and Animal Control Officer James Sheflin investigated the complaint.

As a result of the investigation, Brandon M. Maldonado, 26, of 52 Walnut St., was charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal and offering a false written statement.

His girlfriend, 36-year-old Melissa A. Broadbent, and believed to be the dog's owner, allegedly tried to help Maldonado cover up the crime, including coercing her children into lying about the incident, and was charged with: "overdriving, torturing and injuring" an animal; endangering the welfare of a child; first-degree coercion; offering a false written statement; intimidating a witness or victim in the third degree; and owning/harboring an unlicensed dog.

The couple are scheduled to appear in City Court on the charges this afternoon.

Sgt. Dan Coffey said a State Street Animal Hospital vet conveyed to police that the dog was likely in a great deal of pain between the time he was burned and brought in for treatment nearly two weeks later.

It's expected that the second and third-degree burns will leave permanent scars, and some patches of skin will never regrow any fur. 

Despite what he's been through, Rocky was in great spirits during a visit at the Animal Shelter today. He was eager to meet a visitor and go outside. He readily obeyed commands to sit and stay.  

The dog's wounds show marked improvement from what was visible in the photo released by police Friday.

Officials believe Broadbent has owned Rocky since he was a puppy.

Coffey said police are trying to work through the District Attorney's Office to find a way to speed along the process that would result in a new owner for Rocky. As in previous dog cruelty cases, the owner must relinquish ownership or be convicted of a crime before the dog can go into foster care or to a new permanent home.

August 9, 2015 - 9:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, cats, animals, batavia, missing pets.


From Marybeth Stefani:

I recently moved to Ross Street. My cat Mittens was always an indoor cat, but since moving to the new place she was eager to get outside, so we let her. She was only going as far as the neighbor's and would show up periodically throughout the day. We have been here for a month and a half. Well last Monday is the last I’ve seen of her

She is a female cat who is about 14 years old. She has a scar on her lower side (from a cat fight from before I adopted her). When she went missing, she was wearing a purple flea collar on which I had written her name and address. She is friendly but hides from people she doesn't know.

She could be hiding under a porch or even a garage, so I am asking people to keep their eyes out for her.  She is a family cat and we are missing her terribly! I can be contacted by phone 585-297-7418.

July 28, 2015 - 10:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, batavia.


Spike is missing.

The tortoise belongs to a local family who's owned him for 16 years. He escaped from their yard around 2 p.m., Friday. A neighbor on Summit Street, trying to be helpful, thought Spike was a turtle and took him to the Tonawanda Creek behind the courthouse and released him. It's possible two kids who were there fishing took him home.

Family friend Mike Hilchey is fielding tips on Spike's whereabouts. He can be reached at (585) 344-0931.

May 24, 2015 - 8:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Flyball, sports, dogs, animals, pets, batavia.


It's an adrenaline rush to see one of his border collies racing through four jumps, grabbing a tennis ball and streaking back to him, said Hamburg resident Peter Russell, who was in Batavia on Saturday to compete in a biannual flyball competition at the Fairgrounds.

Flyball is a dog-racing sport. Teams are comprised of four dogs and four handlers. Each dog runs down a track, jumping over four hurdles, hitting a platform at the end of the track, which releases a tennis ball, and then the dog runs back through the hurdles with the ball. The race is a relay, so once the first dog returns, the next dog runs the next leg.

The sport was created in California in the late 1960s and has grown to international proportions.  

Russell is a member of the Buffalo Wings Flyball Team, which has won national championships.

More than 15 teams competed yesterday, with dogs and owners traveling to Batavia from throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada.

The exhibition hall at the fairgrounds on Saturday was a cacophony of yelps and yaps and a whir of flashing fur.

"I think people enjoy the sport because of how quick it is," Russell said. "Races come down to hundredths of a second."

It's also a social sport, said Cindy Henderson, a resident of Massachusetts and regional director for the North American Flyball Association.

"You're with four different people," Henderson said. "That's what's fun about it. You're working with a whole team of people. It's not like other sports where you're just one handler working with a dog. You're a team."

Each member of the team has a specific role. The lead dog needs to have stamina since false starts can mean multiple trips down the track before there's a legal start. There are the middle leg dogs who need to be fast and agile, and then there's the anchor dog, who ideally loves to race and has the competitive drive to overtake another dog if the team has fallen behind. There also needs to be a height dog. The height dog is the smallest dog on the team. The shorter the dog, the lower the hurdles for the team.

Russell and his wife own 13 border collies. Four of them are retired and nine of them race. They're also breeders.

Border collies are particularly well suited to the sport, Russell said.

"It gives them a job to do," he said. "Border collies are bred to herd sheep, so they need a job to do. Their job is to go get the ball and come back to you and tug on their toy. In essence, that's their job for the day. It gives them some mind stimulation, because it's a difficult sport to learn and master and it gives them the physical stimulation because they're running over four jumps, hitting a box, coming back, tugging on the tug when they get back to you."

Alissa Schwab, of Amherst, owns a Jack Russell terrier, the height dog for the Buffalo Wings.

"I got started because obedience training wasn't enough for Jack Russell terriers," Schwab said. "The Buffalo wings needed a fast height dog and they came to training and spotted him and he was hired."

She's been racing for seven years now and now owns three Jack Russells.

"It's great for my dogs," she said. "They look forward to it. The community of people from our region is just fantastic and the racing is good."

The owners enjoy the race. The dogs enjoy pleasing their masters and getting a treat at the end of the run, usually a tug on a rope, but maybe something a little more tasty.

"They like to be rewarded for doing things they love," Schwab said. "You're part of the reward. They want to come back to you."












May 16, 2015 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dogs, animals, batavia.


The Seneca Siberian Husky Club, which is based in Rochester, held its show today at Falleti Ice Arena.

Above, Shira Barkon, of Pennsylvania, with Jewel.



Rick Church, of Michigan, with Sadie.


Jan Haring, of New Jersey, showing Trooper for judge Dr. Richard Hideman.



April 27, 2015 - 9:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, pets.

Kelly Rapone's daughter is worried sick about the whereabouts of her kitten, who has no experience as an outdoor cat. Tully is missing in the Bennett Heights area of Batavia. Tully is very friendly, but doesn't have a collar on. Tully "walks funny" because of a cerebral disorder. If you've seen Tully, can locate Tully or have Tully, call (585) 727-4737.

April 22, 2015 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, elba, byron, missing pets.

Hank is missing. Hank is 6 months old and escaped from home on Transit Road in Elba/Byron two days ago. If found, or with other helpful information, call (585) 297-0088 or (585) 490-3335. A reward is offered for Hank's return.

March 24, 2015 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, cats.

A small platoon of volunteers could deal with the army of stray cats in Batavia, the City Council was told during a long discussion of the issue Monday night.

Three representatives of the pro bono animal program at the SUNY Buffalo Law School recommend a trap, neuter, vaccinate and return program that they say has been successful elsewhere, even in small towns in Western New York.

West Seneca provides an example, said Joseph Smith, a law student working with the pro bono program. That community instituted TNVR and it made a huge difference.

"You can have as fast as a year turnaround," Smith said. "You can get direct results and significant results within a year."

The results include fewer nuisances from cats and fewer stray cats.

Problem cats fall into two categories -- community cats, which are cats who were once domesticated, but somehow became ownerless, and feral cats, which are cats born to a homeless cat and never domesticated.

Smith, along with fellow student Nicole Komin and Vice Dean Kim Diana Connolly, outlined the program's benefits, especially when compared to alternatives.

Stray cats will always be with you, both Smith and Komin emphasized. If you try to capture them and keep them, they'll overwhelm any such system. If you try to kill them, other strays will just move into the territory.

Cats tend to go where they can get food and shelter, be it a cat lover who feeds them, scraps from a restaurant or plentiful prey. If all the cats are removed from an area of food and shelter, other cats will just take their place.

TNVR solves that problem by returning non-breeding cats to those their former haunts.

Once fixed, cats fight less, howl less and spray less, making them much less of a neighborhood nuisance.

And if you can eliminate the breeders, there are fewer feral cats and eventually fewer community cats. They never disappear from a community, but over time, their numbers are greatly reduced.

The life expectancy of a homeless cat is seven or eight years.

Assistant City Manager Gretchen DiFante invited Smith, Komin and Connolly to speak with the council because she's been tasked with coming up with a program to deal with stray and feral cats.

Council members expressed an interest in learning more and supporting a task force to study the proposal further. 

Such a program could be implemented at no cost to the city because there are volunteer and community groups that can be tapped to help set up the program and take care of the task of trapping cats and getting them neutered and vaccinated before they're returned to the location where they're trapped.

Cats who have been through the program get a notched ear so they're identifiable as neutered, and once released, they've learned about the trap and will never allow themselves to be captured that way again, Smith said.

March 17, 2015 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, nature, Genesee County Airport, snowy owl.

Rebecca Grela shared this picture she took Saturday of the snowy owl at the Genesee County Airport.




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