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

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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."

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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.

January 5, 2015 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, alexander, pets.

The man who shot a neighbor's dog on New Year's Eve won't be arrested, Sheriff Gary Maha said today.

Maha released the information report on the incident and in a statement the neighbor said he had started carrying his .357 Magnum that day because the dog had become increasingly aggressive toward him.

Another neighbor, a 78-year-old man, who said he saw the incident, told Deputy Bradley Mazur that he saw the dog charge across the shooter's yard and heard the dog growling and believed the dog intended to attack the man. He then heard two gun shots, but didn't see the dog get hit.

While Maha made no statement about why there will be no arrest, he shared a copy of Agriculture and Markets law, which says there is no liability when a person has a reasonable belief that he or she is being attacked by a dog and then kills that dog.

The dog's name was Pepper and she was owned by Greg Gass, a resident of Dodgeson Road, Alexander.

The Batavian first broke the news of the incident after the Gass family created a Facebook page called Justice for Pepper

The Gass family does not believe Pepper was an aggressive dog.

"She was the sweetest little thing," Jen Gass said. "She played with a little 5-year-old who pulled her ears and would play roughly, and Pepper never did anything about it. She played with other dogs and never had a problem. I know she's a big dog. She looks like a big dog and people can be intimidated, I guess, but she didn't have a mean bone in her body."

In his statement to police, the man who shot Pepper said the dog had been coming onto his property more frequently.

He said the day before the incident, Pepper, a bullmastiff, had been in his yard and acted aggressively toward him and his two grandchildren, ages 7 and 8. 

Once the dog saw me, it became aggressive towards me by barking and growling at me and snapped at me," the man wrote. "I was yelling and pointing at the dog to go home and I was concerned for my safety as well as my grandchildren. I then heard my neighbor, Greg, who is the dog owner, calling the dog's name. The dog did not leave right away when Greg was calling it to come home. I only yelled at the dog and I did not kick the dog or make any other physical contact. The dog ran towards the front yard and Greg was in the back yard. The dog never actually went to him. This was not the first time Greg's dog had been on my property. The dog was more aggressive with each time it was over here."

That incident convinced the man to start carrying his gun, he said.

He said he went out to his shed at about 12:34 p.m., New Year's Day, and the dog started to run directly at him and was barking and growling.

"I pulled out my gun and I yelled at the dog, 'go home, go on,' and the dog never stopped running at me," he said. "I was in fear for my own safety and took two steps backwards. The dog was about three feet from me and lunging at me and I shot the dog. I shot two rounds at the dog and I believed that the first round was in the upper chest just under the dog's neck. The second round was in the front of the dog's head."

Greg, he said, yelled over, "Did you just shoot my dog?" The man said he did.

Greg came over and asked the man, "When did you start carrying?" The man told him, "since yesterday when your dog did the same thing."

Mazur reviewed a surveillance video of the incident and wrote in his report that he consulted with Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini and provided his interpretation of what the video showed and shared what he had been told by the shooter and the witness. Mazur said Cianfrini advised him there was no crime committed and that the neighbor had a right to protect himself.

December 31, 2014 - 4:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in pets, volunteers for animals, animal abuse.

The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a tall white man who stomped a cat to death on Main Street, Batavia, Dec. 3 has been increased to $1,550, according to Volunteers for Animals.

According to a witness, the man was walking a large, dark brown German shepherd near the Raceway Mini Market in the 600 block of East Main Street at the time of the incident. It was about 6:30 p.m.

The cat suffered numerous injuries, including a broken spine and crushed skull from being stomped, and wounds from the dog.

The initial reward was $500.

Batavia Police encourage anyone with information to call their confidential tipline at 345-6370.

 

December 16, 2014 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, crime, pets, volunteers for animals.

Via The Batavian's news partner, WBTA:

A man walking a dog on East Main Street sometime two weeks ago reportedly stomped a cat to death and Volunteers for Animals is offering a $750 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit.

"The owner of the dog sent the dog after the cat and the cat was being thrown up in the air," said Wendy Castleman, with the volunteers. "Then the man stomped on the cat, and according to the examination by a local veterinarian, the cat had numerous injuries caused by the dog as well as a broken spine and a crushed skull caused by the stomping."

The incident occurred around 6:30 p.m., Dec. 3, Castleman said, in the area of 600 E. Main St., Batavia.

"We see a lot of neglect at the shelter but this is different in that it is a very violent act," Castleman said. "We all found it extremely disturbing that someone would do this."

The volunteers initially offered a $500 reward, but through a donation this morning were able to up the reward to $750.

Batavia Police encourages anyone with information to call their confidential tipline at 345-6370.

December 4, 2014 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, alexander, pets, lost pets.

Phoenix is missing somewhere in the Brookville and Hunn roads area of Alexander. She was last seen at home about 5:30 p.m. but got out of the house somehow.

She is sick. She has breast cancer and it is spreading to her lungs. She needs medication daily.

Phoenix is 9 years old, an English setter that is black and white. She is very friendly.

If found, contact Edna at (585) 813-2997.

November 23, 2014 - 6:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal rescue, pets.

"Louie" is on the lam, and his owner Brendalee longs for his special feline friendship. The nearly 2 year old brindle "tiger" cat somehow got out of the house Thursday evening and hasn't been seen since.

Brendalee lives on Ellicott Street by St. Joseph's Cemetery in Batavia and runs B's Pet Grooming service. She said this afternoon that Louie never leaves the house. Not only is he not accustomed to the ways of the world, his front claws have been removed.

He's neutered, doesn't have a collar, and weighs about 10 pounds.

Louie could probably be lured into captivity with treats. He's a real sucker for snacks.

If you see this little scamp, let Brendalee know. She'll be waiting by the phone -- (585) 300-7027.

UPDATE Wednesday 9:24 a.m.: Brendalee just sent us a text message saying Louie was found and is home now. She added that he is "grounded for life." Happy Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2014 - 7:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in Attica, animal rescue, pets.

"Luckson" -- a "very large" green-eyed all-black cat from Water Street, Attica -- has been missing for several nights now and the owners are hoping someone took him in during the severe weather conditions.

They would love, of course, for their dear, four-legged friend to be returned. They are just worried sick about their shelter adoptee and hope Luckson's luck has not run out.

If you know of his whereabouts, please contact Brittany Boyce at 585-813-2772.

UPDATE: Luckson has been found.

October 23, 2014 - 12:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in pets, volunteers for animals, fur ball, animal resuce.

UPDATE: Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at the shelter during hours today from 1-3 and tomorrow from 11-1.

The 11th annual Fur Ball will be held this Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Days Inn in Batavia. The fun begins at 6 p.m. and there will be lots of food, surprises and auctions.

This year's theme is "Shelter Pets are Pawsitively Purrfect."

Tickets are $25. ($50 if purchased the day of the event). Children 12 and under are $15. A table for 10 is $225.

Proceeds benefit the Volunteers for Animals Spay and Neuter Program.

Make checks out to:  Volunteers for Animals - Spay/Neuter Program.

The Days Inn is located at 200 Oak St.

To contact Volunteers for Animals:

[email protected]

www.vol4animals.org

(585) 813-3839

P.O. Box 1621, Batavia, NY 14021

October 20, 2014 - 12:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, byron, pets.

Bobbie Jo M. Klycek found this beagle wandering in her backyard this morning. She lives on Lymon Road, Byron. She left a message with the animal shelter, but took the dog to work with her this morning (she works in Batavia). If this is your beagle, call her at (585) 507-5656.

UPDATE: It appears the owner has been located.

October 7, 2014 - 7:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, crime, pets.

Fox'r is ready to go home. Whose home, we don't know yet, but it won't be the home of Nina Kelso.

In City Court today, Kelso finally surrendered ownership of the boxer, who has been living at the Animal Shelter since being found on death's doorstep at Kelso's former residence on Hutchins Street more than nine months ago.

He can now be adopted into a forever home by a local resident.

While Fox'r has put on weight -- he's up to 84 pounds -- and regained his strength, he's also been fidgety and nervous while confined most hours of the day to a cage at the shelter. He likes people and wants to be around people, volunteers say.

The volunteers at the shelter have taken to calling him "Skully" and "Boyfriend" and they've been eager to see Kelso's court case completed so he could find a new home.

Concern for the dog is one reason the District Attorney's Office agreed to a plea bargain in the case, ADA Robert Zickl told Judge Robert Balbick in City Court today.

"There's no reason for the animal to continue being confined to the shelter," Zickl said. "It should be adopted out and that is what we prefer to do because it's in the best interest of the dog." 

Kelso entered a guilty plea on an Alford basis to one count of torturing an animal.

An Alford plea means she concedes she would likely be found guilty by a jury, but does not admit to the facts of the prosecution's case against her.

Today's proceedings started with Kelso's attorney, Fares Rumi, laying out his understanding of the plea agreement offered by the people.

The agreement was a guilty plea to torturing an animal, no fees for his care up at the shelter and no jail time.

Balbick shot back that he wouldn't necessarily agree to the terms at sentencing.

"I would have to look at her background, a pre-sentence investigation, the facts of the situation and decided if no jail would serve appropriate justice," Balbick said. "I can't do that blindly. I know nothing about your client except that she is charged with torturing an animal."

Looks of shock and horror passed over Kelso's face, who sat at the defense table in a black blouse fiddling with a long silver chain draped around her neck. She appeared close to tears.

After some whispers between her and Rumi, some more back and forth between Rumi and Balbick, Balbick suggested the attorneys proceed with the planned suppression hearing.

Rumi had made a motion to get thrown out any statements Kelso made to Officer Jamie Givens the day she responded to an animal cruelty complaint at 142 Hutchins St. on Feb. 4.

Givens found Fox'r at the top of a common stairwell (shared by two apartments). Food was strewn everywhere, there was no water, and it didn't appear that Fox'r even had the strength to raise his head, Givens testified.

He was so emaciated his ribs were showing.

Minutes after Givens arrived on scene, Kelso came up and walked up the stairs and spoke with Givens.

Rumi argued that Kelso should have been read her rights before speaking with Givens. An argument Balbick would later reject saying that Kelso wasn't in custody at the time and her statements were voluntary. 

Kelso told Givens, Givens said, that Fox'r had eaten either cigarettes or some chemical that made him sick and cause sudden weight loss. Kelso reportedly said she knew Fox'r was close to death and that her brother-in-law was supposed to pick him up the next day and take him some place and shoot him to death.

Through the entirety of Givens testimony, Kelso sat silently shaking her head "no."

After the testimony, both attorneys met with Balbick privately.

When they came back into the courtroom, Rumi met with Kelso privately. They all then approached the bench and Rumi said Kelso had agreed to the terms.

Balbick again emphasized that he retains the option to reject her guilty plea when she comes in for sentencing Jan. 6.

Through tears, Kelso said she understood.

As the details of her guilty plea and the process were discussed, Kelso stood next to her attorney nearly sobbing, but mostly holding it together.

When Balbick asked her if she was ready to surrender the dog, Kelso could barely form the word "yes" with her mouth, started to sob briefly and looked straight up at the ceiling.

Seconds passed, and she managed to sob, "yes."

An animal control officer at the back of the courtroom began preparing the paperwork.

The animal shelter is located at 3841 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. Phone: (585) 343-6410. Applications for adoption are being accepted immediately.  

Around the time of Kelso's arrest, another Batavia woman, Lauren K. Pellegrino, also also arrested for allegedly mistreating her dog, Nessa. Pellegrino was scheduled to appear on her case at 1:30 p.m., and as of 4 p.m., she had yet to show up in City Court. She missed a previous court appearance, as well, and eventually turned herself in on a warrant, according to court officials. The court was attempting to contact her attorney this afternoon. Nessa remains confined to the shelter.

CORRECTION: we originally wrote "no fine." Kelso could be fined up to $1,000. The plea relieves her of responsibility for shelter fees. However when Balbick informed her she could be fined Kelso said she had been willing to pay for Fox'r's care.

September 18, 2014 - 8:59am
posted by David Whitcroft in pets, free, anti-rabies immunization clinic.
Event Date and Time: 
September 18, 2014 -
4:00pm to 7:00pm

Anti-Rabies Immunization Clinic at the Pembroke Highway Department (1145 Main Road (Route 5), Pembroke, NY) – September 18, 2014 4-7pm

September 7, 2014 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pembroke, pets, indian falls.

Deb Hill's chocolate lab Maggie has been missing since yesterday.

Deb said Maggie may have been scared of yesterday morning's weather and tried to follow her husband to work.

In the Indian Falls, Route 77, Phelps Road area.

She has a silver chin.

UPDATE: A reader has helped reunite Deb and Maggie.

August 16, 2014 - 6:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, pets.

When Baxter speaks he doesn't just say "woof." He says, "I love you." That made him Genesee County's Top Dog in the first-ever video dog trick contest sponsored by The Batavian and WBTA.

Baxter is owned by Joyce Zaremski

Here's Baxter's winning video.

August 14, 2014 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, byron, pets.

Stefanie and Kevin are hoping you can help them find Zoe. She's been missing for a week now. This is an older picture. She's put on a little weight since it was taken. Her home is in the Byron area. If you've seen Zoe or have Zoe, call (585) 548-9961.

UPDATE Aug. 15: Zoe is home safe and sound, according to her very happy owners, Stefanie and Kevin!

August 7, 2014 - 9:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets.

Vixie is missing and owner Alli Crawford is looking for her. She's a red pomeranian and was groomed recently. When she took off, she still had her leash attached. Alli has only had her about a week or so and she's very timid, Alli said. Vixie went missing in the area of Shepard Road about 2 p.m. yesterday. Alli can be contacted at (940) 368-3899.

UPDATE Thursday, Aug. 7, 6:13 p.m.: Vixie has been found and reunited with her family!

August 4, 2014 - 9:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, Oakfield, pets.

Jeff Allen's daughter found this dog wandering on Albion Road, Oakfield, last night. Jeff said he checked with neighbors and nobody had seen the dog before. It appears to have been at large for some time. The dog has a collar but no tags. If it's your dog, contact Jeff at (585) 356-9705. The owner should be able to describe the collar or present proof of ownership.

UPDATE: All spiffed up:

July 26, 2014 - 10:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, ebla.

This dog was found this evening wandering on Mechanic Street in Elba. It has tags, but the village hall is closed until Monday. If it's your dog, call Carol at (585) 757-6856.

July 14, 2014 - 1:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in animals, pets.

This dog was found in Attica near Dollar General and Thompson Motors. It wandered into Lisa Gautieri's backyard.

"She's super well behaved and great with our two dogs," says Lisa. "I know she has a family that is missing her and worried."

Lisa can be reached at (585) 750-1480.

UPDATE 8:35 p.m.: The dog has been reunited with its family and all is well.

July 2, 2014 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, Genesee County Animal Shelter, pets.

Some of the shelter volunteers call him "Boyfriend," which tells you something about how "Foxer" has won the hearts of the people who care for him every day.

The white and brown pit bull is sweet, kind and gentle and gets along well with the other dogs and people he meets.

The only serious issue for Foxer these days seems to be a question of how much longer he's going to be confined at the Genesee County Animal Shelter.

Officially, he's "evidence." 

Foxer, also known around the shelter as "Skully," is caught in a legal battle between his owner, Nina Kelso, and the government that is prosecuting her for allegedly mistreating him.

Kelso's case has been pending in Batavia City Court since Feb. 4 when she was charged with torturing or injuring an animal; failure to provide sustenance; and owning/harboring an unlicensed dog. 

The 29-year-old Batavia resident had another court appearance scheduled last week, but as with her previous court appearances, her case was continued, so Foxer's fate remains unresolved.

According to Batavia's Animal Control Officer James Sheflin, Kelso won't sign Foxer over to the shelter so he can be adopted, and since Kelso's case is still pending, the shelter has no choice but to keep him confined.

He can't even go to a foster home because he's considered evidence. Until his status changes he has to remain in the supervision and custody of the shelter.

And he's getting a little stir crazy.

During those hours he's confined to his cage, Foxer doesn't do much other than spin in circles. 

"In the kennel I think he gets a little bit of anxiety, but as you can see, as soon as he gets around humans he's happy and ready to go," Sheflin said. "I can't speak to how he was before we got him, whether he had a lot of human contact before, so I don't know if it's a separation-anxiety type thing."

Volunteer Brenda Cromwell said Foxer is walked daily and even gets a car ride from time to time, but still he spends about 23 hours a day in his cage.

Healthwise, he's doing much better. When he first came into the shelter (see picture below), he weighed 49 pounds. Today, he weighs 75 pounds.

He was treated by a vet for gastroenteritis. 

"He is food-obsessed and looks forward, anxiously, to his next meal," Cromwell said.

Another dog brought to the shelter a couple of weeks before Foxer was Nessa, owned by Lauren K. Pellegrino. Pellegrino's case, like Kelso's, is still pending, so Nessa remains confined to the shelter, but has adjusted to shelter life better than Foxer. Nessa displays no anxiety issues, but is as comfortable and happy around people as Foxer.

Photo of Foxer taken Feb. 4.

Nessa, above, today, and below, when she was first brought to the shelter.

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