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September 24, 2018 - 5:55pm

Batavia woman accused of failing to care for dog was a no-show in court today, and so was her attorney

The Pearl Street Road woman accused of failing to provide proper food and care for her 3-year-old Labrador retriever mixed breed named Maya was a no-show in Town of Batavia Court today, along with her attorney Michael Ranzenhofer.

The case of Becky L. Frens, who is about 56 years old, was on this morning's court docket for 10:30 and nearly two hours later Judge Michael Cleveland called her name and got no response from the gallery. The court clerk said earlier that the court had not heard from Frens or Ranzenhofer, nor had they appeared in court today.

Cleveland said Ranzenhofer had asked him for a second postponement in the case -- it had been delayed once on Aug. 27 until today -- but he denied the request, saying the reasoning for another postponement was not specific enough. Cleveland did not say when Ranzenhofer made the request, but he made it clear he had not heard from Ranzenhofer or Frens today and that they were due in court.

Next time, bench warrants

First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini said she would not ask for a bench warrant to be issued for either the client or attorney in this case, although she could, because she is giving Ranzenhofer the benefit of the doubt. Since he was not present, perhaps there was a miscommunication, she said. But if it happens next time, a bench warrant(s) will be sought.

The people are ready for trial, Cianfrini said.

Cleveland set the matter on the docket for 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, for either adjudication or to set a trial date, one or the other.

Frens was arrested on July 10 by troopers from the Batavia Barracks of the State Police after she went to the Genesee County Animal Shelter to retrieve her dog.

The day or so before Maya had gotten out and somehow managed to walk many, many yards on sore paws -- with nails so overgrown they were chewing into the pads -- down the Frens' gravelled driveway to the edge of the Pearl Street Road pavement. It was there that neighbors across the street saw the dog and coaxed it into their yard, where they gave it cat food and balogna and whatever nutrition they could round up. Emaciated, Maya scarfed it all down along with three bottles of water.

Then the neighbors called the law.

Frens is charged with overdriving, torturing and injuring an animal; and failure to provide proper sustenance under the state Agriculture & Markets law, Article 26, Section 353, which is a Class A misdemeanor. If found guilty, a defendant faces jail time of more than 15 days but not greater than one year. In addition, a fine of up to $1,000 can be imposed.

Update on Maya

Meanwhile, Maya had a big day today.

According to Volunteers for Animals' Lynette Celedonia, who aided Maya from day one, she was to be spayed today and the last knots of scar tissue from infection due to demodectic mange was to be surgically removed from her back and shoulder area.

Since July, Maya has made amazing progress, Celedonia said. Gina Lippa, also with Volunteers for Animals, agreed. They came to court today to hear the Frens' case and afterward were happy to report how well Maya is doing.

"Her coat has grown in and thickened up and she's put on weight; her hip bones and ribs are no longer showing," Celedonia said. "Her infections have cleared up. And her muscles are stronger from playing and running -- which in her case is more like hopping -- and she's been adopted by the best family possible."

A public health nurse and her husband adopted Maya and share their home with her and two other doggie companions, plus avian and feline companions.

Celedonia has a recent picture on her phone of Maya, snoozing on big comfy sofa, taken after an afternoon of romping around in her new yard, plumb tuckered out and looking like a different, healthier dog.

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