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animal abuse

Woman in dog OD case who skipped court appearances, arrested on warrant, held on bail

By Howard B. Owens


A property dispute at 316 E. Main St., Batavia, helped Batavia PD locate Cassandra Elmore, a Batavia resident accused of letting her dog overdose on narcotics but has missed court appearances on the case.

She was wanted on an arrest warrant as well as two bench warrants for her failure to appear in court.

She was located on Sept. 10. 

According to Batavia PD, when Elmore was advised of the warrants, she attempted to stop officers from arresting her by closing a door and then actively resisting attempts by officers to place her in handcuffs.

In addition to the pending charges, Elmore is now charged with obstructing governmental administration 2nd

Elmore was arraigned in City Court and jailed on $5,000 bail.

She is scheduled to appear in City Court at 1:30 p.m., Thursday.

Elmore was arrested in July after showing up on emergency visits at veterinarians with her dog, Oddey, showing signs of a drug overdose.  Two of the veterinarians said Oddey consumed cocaine, apparently found on the floor of Elmore's residence, which was then on River Street, and the third said an unspecified narcotic.

Elmore was arrested on three counts of injuring an animal under New York Ag and Markets Law Section 353.

At her first court appearance after her arrest, she asked for time to hire an attorney

She failed to appear in court on Aug. 11 when a friend called the court to say she was in the hospital, a claim that was never substantiated in court.

She next failed to appear on Sept. 8 when a man claiming to be an attorney from Pennsylvania called and said Elmore had been unable to contact her public defender, a claim disputed by the public defender handling her case. 

While Elmore's case is pending, Oddey remains at the Genesee County Animal Shelter, unavailable for adoption. 

Elmore was also arrested on Aug. 30 following a traffic stop and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, obstruction of governmental administration, aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd, uninspected motor vehicle, and insufficient tail lamps.

See also: OPINION: Due process often neglects animal victims

Woman in dog overdose case again fails to show up for court appearance

By Howard B. Owens

A woman accused of injuring an animal after her dog overdosed three times on narcotics earlier this summer once again failed to appear in City Court on Thursday.

Cassandra Elmore was ordered to appear at 1:30 p.m. and was not seen in court by the time Judge Thomas Burns called her case at 3:20 p.m.

He said a court clerk had received a call earlier in the day from a man who claimed to be an attorney from Pennsylvania and that he was calling on Elmore's behalf, claiming that Elmore had tried contacting her assigned attorney multiple times and her calls were not returned.

Burns said the man provided only a partial address, no phone number, and said his secretary would be in touch with the court.  The man also did not file a motion to change attorneys, Burns noted.

At no time, Burns said, did the clerk say Elmore was excused from her scheduled appearance today.

Elmore faces three counts of injuring an animal under New York Ag and Markets Law Section 353.  She reportedly took her dog, Oddey, to veterinarians with apparent drug overdoses after the dog, according to police reports, licked up white powder from the kitchen floor.

See AlsoOPINION: Due process often neglects animal victims

Elmore did make her initial court appearance on the case on July 26, when she asked for time to hire an attorney.

On Aug. 11, Elmore failed to show for an ordered court appearance. On that date, a woman who identified herself as a friend of Elmore called and said Elmore was hospitalized.  The caller was informed that the court needed proof of the hospitalization but no proof was sent to the court before her scheduled appearance.

Burns issued a warrant for Elmore's arrest but when The Batavian checked with Batavia PD on the status of the warrant more than a week later, a spokesman for the department said the department never received a warrant for Elmore.

Elmore was arrested on Aug. 30 following a traffic stop in Batavia and charged with criminal possession of a weapon and obstruction of governmental administration.

During today's hearing, Jamie Welch, with the Public Defender's Office, said he was unaware of any messages left for him by Elmore. 

Assistant District Attorney Jenna Bauer told Burns that her office was not contacted by any other attorney claiming to represent Elmore.  She also noted that it took Elmore two months to complete the paperwork required for the Public Defender's Office to represent her.

Following her Aug. 30 arrest, Elmore was ordered to appear in City Court on those charges at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 13.

Burns said she was going to be arraigned on those charges today, so he issued an arrest warrant related to those charges. He also issued two bench warrants for her failure to appear on the two injuring an animal charges.

At the time of her arrest on the animal charges, Elmore lived on River Street.  Welch provided the court with a new residential address for her on East Main Street.  Welch said he would be sending her a letter informing her of her court appearances and would attempt to reach her by phone.

Oddey remains at the animal shelter. Oddey is doing well, according to a member of Volunteers for Animals, but he can't be sent to a foster home or put up for adoption while the legal case against Elmore is pending or until she surrenders ownership.


Pair charged in dog abuse case appear in City Court, further proceedings pending

By Howard B. Owens

Two people accused of abusing a pair of dogs, including one who eventually died, made their City Court appearances today after missing similar appearances in June.

Both Andrew A. Searight, 35, and Jerrtonia A. Scarbrough, 24, are charged with two counts each of felony aggravated cruelty to animals.

They are accused of abandoning two pitbulls in apartment 60 at 337 Bank St., Batavia. The two animals were found malnourished and covered in feces in their cages inside the apartment on May 10, according to witness statements.

Searight was first on the docket in City Court on Wednesday afternoon.  He entered a not-guilty plea and City Court Judge Durin Rogers bound his case over for Grand Jury review.  If indicted, his next appearance will be in County Court at a date yet to be determined.  

Scarbrough also entered a not-guilty plea and Rogers ordered her released under the supervision of Genesee Justice.  He said Scarbrough couldn't leave the county, which raised an objection from her attorney, Jamie Walsh, with the Public Defenders Office, who informed Rogers that Scarbrough frequently stays with her mother in Niagraga County and that Scarbrough has a five-year-old child who attends a public elementary school there.

Rogers wasn't swayed.  He said if Scarbrough wanted to leave the county, she could seek permission from Genesee Justice or return to the court for permission.

The conditions and supervision were necessary, Rogers said, because of Scarbrough's previous failures to appear in court when ordered, her prior offense, and a warrant for an apparent failure to appear, out of Niagara County, along with the severity of the charges.

Scarbrough faces an obstruction of governmental administration charge in Niagara County. 

The charges against Searight and Scarbrough stem from the discovery of two pitbulls in an apartment the pair had reportedly shared. Both dogs had been left in cages and were starving, and covered in feces, when animal control officers arrived at the apartment after a neighbor called authorities.  The male pitbull has recovered while the female pitbull had to be euthanized. 


Animal abuse suspects fail to appear for arraignment in City Court

By Howard B. Owens


A pair of apparently former Batavia residents facing felony animal cruelty charges failed to appear in City Court today for arraignment, prompting Judge Durin Rogers to issue arrest warrants for both defendants.

Both Andrew A. Searight, 35, and Jerrtonia A. Scarbrough, 24, are charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals.

They are accused of abandoning two pitbulls in apartment 60 at 337 Bank St., Batavia. The two animals were found malnourished and covered in feces in their cages inside the apartment on May 10, according to witness statements.

Both defendants were scheduled to appear earlier in June and both called the court to report that they had COVID-19. They were ordered to appear today and provide proof of positive COVID tests.

Rogers noted that both were clearly aware of the order to appear today for arraignment, and they both demonstrated with their prior calls that they knew how to reach the court if they couldn't make their appearance. 

During his remarks, Rogers referred to Searight as a former Batavia resident. He made no mention of where the defendants might be living now.

One of the two Pitbulls found in the apartment was, according to court documents, in such bad shape that she had to be euthanized.  The other dog is recovering at Genesee County Animal Shelter. He is not yet available for adoption because the owners have yet to relinquish ownership.

Rogers asked the assistant district attorney if the dog was still at the shelter, expressing concern the dog might still be with the owners while the case is pending. The ADA said she believed the dog is at the shelter.

Previously: One of two Pitbulls found abandoned in apartment in good health while mate had to be put down

Photo: File Photo of "Brad Pitt" (the name given to the dog by Animal Shelter volunteers).

One of two Pitbulls found abandoned in apartment in good health while mate had to be put down

By Howard B. Owens


"Brad Pitt" (not his real name) has, in the space of a month, gone from a fearful, emaciated, feces-covered canine to a healthy, sweet-tempered, friendly, sweetheart of a dog while in the care of the county's Animal Control officers and Volunteers for Animals.

"Pitt" was seemingly abandoned by his owners in Apt. 60, 337 Bank St., Batavia. He was found on May 10 in a cage inside the apartment without food, covered in his own fecal matter, and skinny and weak.

A female Pitbull was found in the same apartment, also in a cage, also in poor health -- so poor that by the time a veterinarian determined what to do for her, the most humane option was to euthanize her.

The two people who allegedly abandoned the dogs are Andrew A. Searight, 35, and Jerrtonia A. Scarbrough, 24.  Both have been charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals. 

According to court documents, a maintenance worker at Walden Estates was aware of the dogs and the owners and also believed the couple had stopped paying rent sometime prior to May.  He and a neighbor had observed the residents moving out of the apartment some days to a week or so prior to May 10.  On that date, the worker observed trash piled up outside the apartment.  He spoke to a neighbor who said he hadn't seen the occupants for a week or two.

The female dog had given birth some weeks prior, according to the neighbor, and he had witnessed, he said, the residents removing the puppies and a TV.

The worker asked if the adult dogs were still inside, and the neighbor said he believed they were still in the apartment.

The worker looked into the apartment and saw one of the dogs in a cage.

Concerned about the health and safety of the dogs, both the property manager and the neighbor entered the apartment through an unlocked door and found two Pitbulls locked in cages, unfed, and covered in "shit," as the neighbor said in his statements.

"The black dog looked terrified and almost dead," the neighbor wrote. "The other dog looked terrified, shocked, and couldn't even stand, so we had to pull him from the crate. He had no strength at all."

He contacted the property manager and asked her to call the police. Officer Peter Flannigan and Sarah Fountain, a county animal control officer, responded.

Fountain wrote that when she arrived she found the dogs in the condition described by the witnesses and that the black dog, the female dog, was cold to the touch. 

Both dogs were assisted to the animal control vehicle, with the female dog carried on a stretcher. 

A normal dog's temperature is between 100 and 102 degrees.  The female dog's temperature was 93.3, the veterinarian told Fountain.

The dog "had no reserves and, basically, her body was shutting down," Fountain reports the vet telling her.   She was down to 20.4 pounds and should have weighed at least 40 pounds.

The vet did not expect the female dog to recover so it was euthanized.

The male Pitbull -- who has acquired the nickname "Brad Pitt" while at the shelter -- has been put on a thrice-a-day feeding plan and was up to 45.9 pounds by the time Fountain wrote her report for investigators.  She could not discuss his current condition today since there is still a criminal case pending.

Searight was originally scheduled for an appearance in City Court yesterday, but the case has been moved to 1:30 p.m. June 21.

Legally, Searight and Scarbrough still own the dog. Typically in animal abuse cases, the defendants are asked during the proceedings to surrender the dogs to Animal Control, at which point, the animal can be put up for adoption.

Fountain also reported finding a cockatiel in the apartment. She couldn't assess its health condition and The Batavian doesn't have information on its status.



Woman admits to animal abuse charge, surrenders the rest of her dogs and cats

By Howard B. Owens


A Pembroke woman arrested earlier this year after more than 15 animals were found at her home on Akron Road in Pembroke in poor health entered a guilty plea in Pembroke Town Court to one count of animal abuse/failure to sustain under New York's Agriculture and Markets Law.

Lori Ann Adolf, 47, also entered a guilty plea to endangering the welfare of a child.

Both charges are Class A misdemeanors and could carry a maximum jail term of one year each, but under terms of the plea agreement, Adolf will likely be sentenced Oct. 13 to three years probation.

During those three years, Adolf cannot own, purchase, breed, or work with any animal of any kind.

The state does not have the authority to order her to own or keep animals for any period of time she's not on probation.

As part of the plea, Adolf also agreed to sign over six more dogs and two cats to the Genesee County Animal Shelter. Those animals are now available for adoption and as of yesterday had not been spoken for by any potential new owners.

Previously, Adolf had surrendered seven of the dogs to the shelter. 

Adolf will also be under the terms of a no-offensive-conduct order of protection in regard to the minor involved in the case.

She must also continue mental health and substance abuse care.


Photo: File photo of one of the dogs that had been in Adolf's care after being housed at the Animal Shelter for a few months.

Dog locked inside red Ford Escape in Batavia Downs' parking lot

By Billie Owens

A dog is reportedly locked inside a red Ford Escape in a handicapped parking space across from Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel on Park Road. An animal control officer is responding.

UPDATE 1:35 p.m.: The officer is in the parking lot with the vehicle; she's waiting for a security guard from the Downs and has called for a zone car -- patrol car -- to the scene.

UPDATE 2:23 p.m.: Didn't hear an update other than the officer is clearing the scene at the Downs and heading to a dog-bite call received earlier today.

Caller says pitbull mix tried to hitch a ride in Stafford

By Billie Owens

A caller to dispatch reports that a black and white pitbull mix tried to get into their vehicle when it stopped at a stop sign in Stafford. The dog was laying in a driveway in the area of Sweetland and Transit roads without shelter or food when the vehicle made the stop.

An officer is responding to check on the animal.

UPDATE 1:20 p.m.: An officer is out with the canine in the 6300 block of Sweetland Road.

UPDATE 1:26 p.m.: The animal control officer says the dog has shelter and a water dish. "Unable to make contact with anyone" at the residence. She's en route back to the shelter.

Officer called to Target parking lot for report of dog locked in vehicle

By Billie Owens

An officer is called to the Target parking lot for a report of a dog locked in a Chevy Sonic. "The windows are only down one inch," according to what the dispatcher was told.

The officer on scene reports the air-conditioner is running and the dog appears fine.

But the officer is going inside the store to try and locate the owner.

It's 83 degrees now and overcast, with 55-percent humidity, according to the National Weather Service.

Dog locked in Dodge Caravan for over an hour at Walmart

By Billie Owens

An officer is dispatched to the Walmart parking lot for a report of a dog locked inside a Dodge Caravan for more than an hour.

The vehicle is parked in the last five rows "near the tree line."

It's 47 degrees outside.

Caller reports dog locked in vehicle for a half hour outside of Target

By Billie Owens

A caller to dispatch says a dog has been locked inside a vehicle for a half hour outside the Target store in Batavia "near the hotel sign." An officer is responding.

UPDATE 1:52 p.m.: "Spoke to the owner of the dog; the dog is safe," the officer tells a dispatcher. "En route to the shelter."

Caller reports Lab mix locked in crate since Thursday

By Billie Owens

A mixed Labrador retreiver apparently did not have a happy Thanksgiving. A caller to dispatch reports the dog has been locked inside a crate since Thursday. Batavia police are responding to a lower apartment in the first block of Oak Street.

Caller claims neighbor purposely locked pet cats out of house, stranding them on roof

By Billie Owens

A caller to dispatch says a neighbor at an apartment on Chestnut Street in the city intentionally locked cats out of the house, leaving them stranded on the roof. A police officer is responding.

UPDATE 1:39 p.m.: The Chestnut Street resident was home when a police officer and an animal control officer arrived. The resident, who has two cats, says one of them likes to go out on the roof over a room on the first floor. That's why the screenless window is left open on sunny, pleasant days such as this so the feline can survey all and bask in sunlight. The cat can mosey back inside at any point. One of the officers asked the resident if they could bring the cat inside since someone has concerns about it and the resident acquiesced.

Dog locked inside blue SUV in handicap spot in front of BJ's

By Billie Owens

A caller reports there's a dog that's been locked inside a blue SUV for 30 to 40 minutes at BJ's Wholesale Club. The vehicle is in a handicap parking space in front. An animal control officer is responding. It's about 70 degrees outside.

UPDATE: The officer has driven through the parking lot three times and is unable to locate the vehicle; back in service.

Dog locked in Dodge minivan outside food entrance at Walmart

By Billie Owens

A dog is locked inside a Dodge minivan outside Walmart on Veterans Memorial Drive, in the fourth parking row from the food entrance. The plate returns to a Dellinger Avenue address in the city. An animal control officer is responding.

It's 73 outside and somewhat muggy today.

UPDATE 1:01 p.m.: The officer went through the parking lot a couple of times, but was unable to locate the minivan and is back in service.

Walmart dog-in-hot-car rescue in Batavia July 27 prompts PETA to issue urgent warning

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Batavia, N.Y. – Following recent reports that  a dog had to be rescued from a hot car in Batavia, PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- is issuing an urgent warning about the importance of  never leaving animals in hot vehicles.

Twenty-four animals have  already  died  this year  from heat-related causes, and because COVID-19 is prolonging store wait times and errands, PETA is concerned that  this summer could see an unprecedented number of hot  weather–related animal deaths.

On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 100 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

Dogs, who don’t sweat and can cool themselves only by panting, can rapidly succumb to heatstroke, even if a vehicle is parked in the shade with the windows slightly open, which has little to no effect on lowering the temperature inside.

Anyone who leaves animals outside to suffer in severe weather may be  prosecuted for cruelty.

The following tips will help keep animal companions safe in hot weather:

  • Keep animals indoors, and leave them at home when it’s hot outside.  Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their footpads and cool themselves by panting, so even brief sun exposure can have life-threatening consequences. Anyone who sees animals in distress and is unable to help should note their locations and alert authorities immediately.
  • Never leave an animal inside a hot vehicle.  Temperatures can quickly soar in parked cars, and a dog trapped inside can die from heatstroke within minutes—even if the car is in the shade with the windows slightly open, which has little to no effect on lowering the temperature inside the car. PETA offers  an emergency window-breaking hammer  for help with intervening in life-or-death situations.
  • Avoid hot pavement. When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can climb to 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, and permanent damage to dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk dogs on grass whenever possible, and avoid walking in the middle of the day. 
  • Never run with dogs  in hot weather—they’ll collapse before giving up, at which point, it may be too late to save them.

PETA has released a hot-car public service announcement featuring Mckenna Grace. For more information, visit

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