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animal abuse

October 22, 2018 - 4:33pm

Becky L. Frens, who is accused of failing to provide for the basic needs of a 3-year-old Lab mix breed that used to be her pet, was in Batavia Town Court this afternoon.

The matter was again postponed, this time until 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 17.

Samuel Alba, an associate attorney with the law firm of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, told Judge Michael Cleveland that plea negotiations with the District Attorney's Office were ongoing and additional time was needed to submit "more documentation."

First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini said copies of any new documents need to be forwarded to the D.A.'s office. She said she did not have a problem with postponement; but come Dec. 17 the people will demand the case to be adjudicated or a trial date set.

That's exactly what Judge Cleveland had said the last time the case was on the docket, on Sept. 24, when neither Frens nor attorney Michael Ranzenhofer showed up like they were supposed to and without communicating anything to the court.

The matter was also delayed once during the summer, on July 30, after Ranzenhofer cited unspecified "complications."

Frens, who lives on Pearl Street Road in the Town of Batavia, is in her mid-50s and was accompanied to court today by a male, possibly her husband.

She stood quietly next to attorney Alba at the bench, looking different from both her previous court appearance and from her arrest mug shot (inset photo). Today, she had long straight blond locks, and wore a maxi skirt with swirls of teal, black and white, and a purple hooded jacket.

She was arrested July 10 by Troopers out of SP Batavia and charged with overdriving, torturing and injuring an animal; failure to provide proper sustenance.

Troopers were dispatched to the Genesee County Animal Shelter at the request of animal control officers after Frens arrived at the facility to claim her dog that had been found by her neighbor the day before.

"Maya" was in very poor health with multiple issues caused by neglect, according to Volunteers for Animals. The dog was diagnosed with multiple skin infections, mange, double ear infections that left her only able to hear a dog whistle, and her uncut nails were so long she could barely move.

Under the state Agriculture & Markets law, Article 26, Section 353, this 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.

A man who keeps the books for Volunteers for Animals said outside court this afternoon that he guessed Maya's vet bills were between $300 and $500.

The dog's mange has cleared up; knots of scar tissue on her back and shoulders were surgically removed; her muscles are stronger and she's gained weight; she's been spayed. And she's been adopted into a home that cares.

October 5, 2018 - 2:45pm

(Submitted photos) The condition of the abused puppy at the time she was found last night in Stafford.

The public is asked to help law enforcement find the owner of this emaciated puppy found last night on Route 33 and Prole Road Extension in Stafford.

The fawn-and-white colored female weighs only 9.2 pounds. The dog is not able to stand on its own. It was covered in urine and feces. It is severely dehydrated and malnourished.

The puppy was picked up by a Good Samaritan and turned over to the Batavia City PD and the case is now being investigated by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Due to the nature of the wounds present on the puppy, this is being investigated as animal cruelty.

The puppy was immediately examined and treated by a local veterinarian and was being cared for at the Genesee County Animal Shelter with the assistance of the Volunteers for Animals. They have named her "Opal" and she is now in a foster home until she is well enough to be adopted.

If you any ANY information about the owner of this puppy, please contact Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Forsyth at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3233.

Below, "Opal" today, clean and wrapped snuggly in fleece at the vet's office.

September 27, 2018 - 1:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in PETA, animal abuse, animal neglect, news, Announcements, Le Roy, pets.

Press release from PETA:

At around 8:30 on Saturday morning, a passerby discovered a cat inside a plastic bin—which was taped shut with duct tape and had no holes or other means of ventilation—abandoned on the side of the road at the intersection of Munson and Gilbert streets in Le Roy.

Officers believe that the male long-haired cat had been left there for approximately 20 minutes, and surveillance footage shows a white pickup truck at the scene.

The cat, now named Munson, is currently at the Genesee County Animal Shelter, but police have yet to determine who's responsible for abandoning him and leaving him to suffocate.

That's why PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction on cruelty-to-animals charges of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to abuse in any way"—is also asking residents in the area to help spread the word and put up free downloadable posters (available here) in businesses and schools, on bulletin boards, and anywhere else that they're allowed to display them.

Someone may recognize this cat, and it might be the only way to apprehend those responsible for this cruel act.

If someone hadn't found him in time, this frightened cat would almost certainly have died inside that plastic box," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien.

"PETA is calling on anyone who recognizes this cat to come forward immediately so that whoever shut him in this container and left him to suffocate can be held accountable and stopped from hurting anyone else."

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Le Roy Police Department at 585-345-6350.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

Photos courtesy of the Le Roy Police Department.

September 24, 2018 - 5:55pm

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.

July 30, 2018 - 8:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, animal neglect, notify, news, batavia, crime.


       Becky L. Frens

A Pearl Street Road resident accused of neglecting her 3-year-old female dog appeared briefly in Town of Batavia Court this afternoon.

Shortly after 1 p.m., Becky L. Frens approached the bench of Judge Michael Cleveland flanked by her attorney Michael Ranzenhofer.

The senator with 38 years of legal expertise is a partner in the law firm Friedman & Ranzenhofer PC, with eight offices in Western New York, including one on Main Street in Batavia.

Ranzenhofer cited unspecified "complications" and asked for a delay in the case. The people, represented by Assistant District Attorney Robert Zickl, told the judge they are ready to proceed in the matter.

Cleveland granted Ranzenhofer's request for a delay and the next court appearance for 56-year-old Frens is set for 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 27.

Today, Frens looked a lot different than the photo taken July 10 following her arrest by troopers from the Batavia Barracks of the State Police after she went to the Genesee County Animal Shelter to retrieve her dog.

She 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. (Find the section in Ag & Markets law here.)

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.

Frens was dressed in a solid blue, A-line knit top, three-quarter-sleeved with lacy cut-outs, mid-calf black capris, and delicately embossed, pale blue slides. Her medium brown tresses looked freshly curled and hung well past her shoulders. She wore eyeglasses.

Looking only slightly better today was Frens' former pet, a Labrador retriever mixed breed named Maya, which happens to be Sanskrit for "create."

The dog still has a long road ahead.

Volunteers walked her out for a visitor at the Animal Shelter at about 2 o'clock.

Animal Control Officer Ann Marie Brady said when Maya was brought in "she was able to walk, but the length of her nails was so long, that she was not able to walk on concrete or tiles, which is what we have at the shelter, until her nails were cut. With the long nails and the shape of her pads, it was painful.

"She has some genetic issues and some splayed tendons. She doesn't have much muscle mass; she can't stand the heat. When she first came here, she couldn't exercise for any length of time. 

"She was very thin and she is still gaunt. Very underweight, you can see her hips. Since she's been getting treatment, she's put on a few pounds. But we don't want her to put on a lot of weight yet, so it's a constant battle of weighing her, adjusting her feed. The Volunteers for Animals help monitor her and give her special feed. They take her to the vet and pay for the vet bills. 

"She has open sores on her body, bacterial infections, fungal infections. She has several infections we are getting under control. She has demodectic mange, which is in everyone's system, but when the immune system becomes compromised, it goes haywire."

On top of all that, she is nearly 90 percent deaf now because of chronic, heretofore untreated infections in both ears. There is a lot of scar tissue in her ears as a result. She can hear a whistle, but not much else. 

Maya's eyesight was also impaired. She could not see a hand held out with a treat in front of her face -- at least not at first -- she kept missing it with her muzzle. But after three weeks of some decent nutrition and medical control of her infections, she can find the hand in front of her nose.

She's not as stinky. She can manage to jump onto the seated lap of a volunteer these days; a feat that she could not do only a couple of weeks ago.

And despite everything, "she's always happy to see us," said volunteer Lynette Celedonia.

Maya belongs to the shelter and it will hold onto her until she is healthy enough to find a home -- food, water, walkies, treats, mercy, humaneness, decency.

The woman who initially found Maya is seriously considering adopting her, although, with the interest in Maya's story, Christina Homer-Roviso is sure there will be many contenders.

Homer-Roviso said she never had a clue the neighbors across from her sister-in-law's house had a dog. Then came the day earlier this month when Maya was standing across the road looking pathetic.

Homer-Roviso coaxed her across the asphalt in order to help her and she said "watching her try to walk was hard." 

"Oh, my gosh, that dog was starving," said the sister-in-law, Lynne D. Homer. "We gave her two bowls of cat food, some baloney, and sausage; she drank three bottles of water."

"She was missing patches of fur, was (in) really, really bad (condition). ... Someone like (Frens) should not have a freakin' animal and to live in a house like that," said a visibly shaken Homer-Roviso, fighting back tears.

Frens lives in a 3,236-square-foot Colonial built in 2002. The four-bedroom, two-bath custom-built home also has two outbuildings and sits on 11.7 acres. The assessed value is $283,400.

"I own five dogs, horses, goats, chickens, and cats. I tell my kids 'You can go get food and water. These animals can't. You have to do that for them.' "

For previous coverage, click here.

Photos by Howard Owens.




July 15, 2018 - 12:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, animal neglect, animal torture, batavia, crime.

From the New York State Police:

On Tuesday, July 10, at 5:25 p.m., Troopers out of SP Batavia arrested Becky L. Frens, 56, of Batavia, for overdriving, torturing and injuring an animal; failure to provide proper sustenance.

Troopers were dispatched to the Genesee County Animal Shelter in the Town of Batavia at the request of animal control officers.

Frens arrived at the animal shelter to claim a dog that was previously located the day before. The dog was in very poor health with multiple issues caused by neglect.

The dog was diagnosed with multiple skin infections, mange, double ear infections, and had uncut nails so long that the dog could not walk.

The dog was left in the care of the Genesee County Animal Shelter and Frens was arrested and processed at SP Batavia.

Frens was issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Batavia Court for later this month.

July 1, 2018 - 12:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, pets, scanner, batavia, news.

A dog is reportedly locked inside a black Ford pickup truck in the parking lot in front of Kohl's department store off Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia.

An animal control officer is responding to check its welfare after someone called dispatch. It's 89 degrees now and the heat index is 97. It will get hotter today.

UPDATE 12:56 p.m.: "Unable to locate. I'll be clear; returning to the shelter," says the officer.

June 13, 2018 - 1:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, animal rescue, pets, news, batavia.

A dog is locked in a car with the windows up in the Walmart parking lot in Batavia. It is described as a red Honda Pilot, which is an SUV, parked in row 10. An animal control officer is responding.

June 1, 2018 - 8:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, animal abuse, animal cruelty, pet rescue.

Law enforcement is responding to the parking lot on Veterans Memorial Drive in the Town of Batavia outside GameStop for a report of a dog locked inside a blue Chevy Silverado truck. It's 79 degrees now here.

GameStop is located at 4232 Veterans Memorial Drive, unit E-2.

May 30, 2018 - 1:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, news, animal abuse, animal cruelty, animal rescue, pets.

A dog has been locked inside a vehicle at 12 S. Lake Ave. in Bergen for at least the last 45 minutes, says a caller to dispatch.

An officer is responding.

It's 90 degrees outside.

January 6, 2018 - 4:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in elba, byron, news, animal abuse.

A barn with both doors open on Transit Road, potentially endangering the lives of animals corraled inside, prompted a call to dispatch. "This caller is concerned about the welfare of the animals due to the cold weather."

The location is reportedly a half mile north of Route 262, which is on the border between Elba and Byron. An animal control officer is heading there now to check their welfare. 

December 28, 2017 - 1:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, horses, Stafford, news.

An animal control officer is responding to check the welfare of two horses corraled off Main Road in Stafford that appear to be malnourished, according to a caller to dispatch.

The caller could not provide the exact address of the property but told a dispatcher it is in the area of Nilesville Road, on the north side of Main Road, and that those are the only horses in that vicinity.

September 1, 2017 - 3:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news, animal abuse.

A man accused of forcibly stealing a cell phone and beating and strangling a woman's beagle will get a thorough mental health exam to determine his fitness for court proceedings, Judge Charles Zambito ordered today in Genesee County Court.

Shawn Michael Twardowski is charged with one count of third-degree robbery, a Class D felony, for allegedly taking a cell phone from a woman on Jan. 26 on Bank Street in the City of Batavia; and one count of cruelty to animals, a Class A misdemeanor.

A possible plea deal was withdrawn, for now at least.

His attorney, Michael Locicero, told Judge Zambito that his client "displayed competency issues in his last court appearance" in August. Today, Locicero reiterated his concerns, saying a recent "mental forensic evaluation" does not address Twardowski's "competency per se" and he again expressed reservations about his client's "fitness to proceed," and comprehend a plea bargain.

Locicero said his client told him that at some point he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but nothing in his file confirms that diagnosis. He described his client as "non-responsive" in face-to-face dealings with him. Indeed throughout his brief appearance in County Court this morning, the tall, lanky Twardowski, handcuffed and wearing inmate orange, sat or stood slope-shouldered, staring vacantly at the table. 

The defense attorney once more asked for a "730 Exam" -- a comprehensive mental health evaluation of his client.

Last month, Assistant District Attorney Robert Zickl objected to that request and noted that no comprehension issue was raised when the defendant sought a judicial diversion. Zambito, who subsequently called for more information and specifics to be gathered in the intervening weeks, seemed reluctant to grant the 730 Exam request.

"I've reviewed the records," Zambito said. "There's nothing to indicate he's incompetent, but I have not dealt with him personally."

Zickl again objected to the request, adding that the plea offer would be withdrawn and if he is found competent, the case would go to trial.

"If he's (found) not competent to stand trial, he's not competent to consider a plea offer," Zambito said, making Zickl's point moot.

Zambito ordered a 730 Exam for Twardowski.

The case is on the docket again at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 13.

June 18, 2016 - 4:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal rescue, animal abuse, batavia, news.

A caller to dispatch reports about 20 minutes ago a red Chevy Cavalier-type coupe drove into the parking lot of Batavia Middle School on Ross Street and dropped off "a cage full of cats," then left. Law enforcement is reponding.

UPDATE 4:29 a.m.: An eyewitness told Howard at the scene that a lone woman driving a bright red Cavalier drove behind their house and to the school parking lot and got out with a cage. When the driver saw she had been spotted, she left the cage with two cats inside and quickly drove off. The cats are black and white and were taken to the Genesee County Animal Shelter.

May 27, 2016 - 3:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, pets, batavia, news.

A dog is locked inside a black Cadillac with the windows rolled up near 115 Washington Ave. in the City. Batavia PD is responding.

May 27, 2016 - 10:56am
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, news, batavia.

A dog has reportedly been locked inside a red Chevy pickup truck in the Court Street plaza in the city for the last 30 minutes. Batavia PD is responding. The vehicle is in a handicapped parking space near City Slickers restaurant.

May 25, 2016 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, animal abuse.

Lisa Marie Muratore, 32, of Lake Avenue, Rochester, is charged with confinement of a companion animal in a vehicle in extreme temperature. She was charged for allegedly leaving her dog in a vehicle for 45 minutes while the outside temperature was 79 degrees. This was at 5:13 p.m. on Monday, May 23, at Batavia Downs Gaming, 8315 Park Road, Batavia. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

May 6, 2016 - 11:23am
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, batavia, news.

A dog is reportedly locked inside a white Kia in the parking lot in front of Aldi's on East Main Street, Batavia. The windows are shut. Law enforcement is responding.

July 27, 2015 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, batavia.

A dog is reportedly locked inside a white Chevy Impala in front of the Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union in Jefferson Square. An animal control officer is responding. It's hot and muggy today -- 83 degrees, with 49 percent humidity, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

July 19, 2015 - 12:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, batavia.

Two dogs are reportedly locked inside a vehicle parked outside of Denny's restaurant on Main Street in Batavia. An animal control officer is called to respond. It's about 83 degrees.

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