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Ralph is missing in Pavilion

By Howard B. Owens
lost dog

Ralph was feeling lost without his companion Sue Stone so when she took a trip to Boston, he ran off from his pet sitter in Pavilion and now is really lost.

He's a rescue and skittish around people.  If you see him, call 585-356-4089, and someone will come right over.

Animal Control also knows he's missing.

UPDATE 4:29 p.m.: The owner has learned that Ralph was struck by a car on Route 20 and has passed away.

Rescue cats from VFA make a house a home

By Anne Marie Starowitz


I was told that training a cat was demanding  

Our cats had us trained in two days!

Our lives changed when we adopted our kittens from the Volunteers for Animals of Batavia Animal Shelter. Our Clyde and Missy became our children; we refer to them as our babies.   We look forward to coming home to see them when they greet us at the door.

When we first got them, we bought all the supplies to protect our furniture and the special tape to keep them off the dining room table and counters. That lasted about a week; they now have two climbing houses, one in our dining room and the other in our sun parlor. Our home also has cat cozies on chairs, fireplace hearth, and coffee tables. We also heated their window cozy. They both love to lie in our bathroom sink.

Although our house has been known for our cameras on the outside of our property, we also have cameras inside our basement to check when and how much they poop. 

You can also find one on our kitchen counter to record when and how much they have eaten.

Back in the day, you could buy a goldfish or a painted turtle at JJ Newberry Department Store. In talking to my baby boomer friends about their pets, they said they had pet chickens, birds, snakes, white mice, rats, rabbits, and toads, besides the favorites, cats, and dogs. Of course, an exotic pet back then was a raccoon or crow, or you could order a pet monkey through the mail.

This story captured my attention. A baseball league called the PONY League (Pennsylvania, Ontario, and New York) played in Batavia and had a raffle at one of their games in the 60s. An actual pony was given away. I can’t imagine going home and telling my mom what I won at the baseball game!   Readers, is there any truth to that story?

As an elementary teacher, I greatly advocated for a classroom pet—many great stories of our years with guinea pigs and hamsters are still remembered today.

I remember Neptune’s Garden Pet Shop on Liberty Street and Pet Mart on East Main Street, a favorite of mine. Today there is Country Max and Petco on Veterans Memorial Drive. These two stores have everything you need for your pets and a place to adopt a new family member. 

Please share the stories of your pets. For example, we tell our friends our cats own our house, and they allow us to live there. 





Health Department seeking information on dog that bit person in Le Roy

By Press Release

Press release:

The Genesee County Health Department is seeking information about the location of a dog and its owner(s) following a dog bite incident on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 4:30 p.m. The incident occurred on the corner of St Marks Street and North Street in the Village of Le Roy.

The dog was described as a brown, pit bull/boxer mix. The owner was walking their dog on a leash, and the victim was walking toward the owner. As the victim was walking past the dog, the dog jumped up and bit the victim's left, upper arm. After the incident, the owner proceeded toward Church Street.

It is important to locate the dog to determine whether or not it is current on its rabies vaccination. If the health status is not identified, post-exposure rabies shots will be offered to the victim.   

If you have information about the location of the dog and its owner(s), please contact the Genesee County Health Department at (585) 344-2580 ext. 5555.

Former owners of abandoned pit bulls admit to animal cruelty

By Howard B. Owens


"Brad Pitt" can finally move into a new forever home after his former owners accepted plea deals in County Court today that include them surrendering ownership of the dog, who was found abandoned and feces-covered in an apartment in May.

"Brad Pitt" is the name given to the male pit bull after he was brought into the shelter. His female companion was in such poor health after being abandoned in Apt. 60, 337 Bank St., Batavia, that she had to be euthanized.

The two dogs had apparently been bred and then left in cages without food in the apartment by  Andrew A. Searight, 35, and Jerrtonia A. Scarbrough, 24.  By the time they were discovered, they were both near death.

Under terms of the plea agreement offered by District Attorney Kevin Finnell, Searight and Scarbrough entered guilty pleas to two counts of cruelty to animals under Ag and Markets Law in exchange for a one-year term of interim probation.  They must abide by all the terms of probation and perform 150 hours of community service.

If they successfully complete the program, they can return to court in December and plead guilty to misdemeanor charges, at which time they can be sentenced again to either a term of probation or up to a year in jail on each charge.

Legally, they cannot be prevented from ever owning animals again, but under the terms of the agreement, they will not be allowed to own animals while under the court's supervision.

Finnell said he thought Searight should be required to serve his community service in an animal shelter so that he might better understand the trauma to animals when they're mistreated, but he said he understood that shelters might be reluctant to take him on as a volunteer given his conviction.  

Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini concurred but said whatever community service Searight takes on, he is to inform her and get her approval before proceeding.

She said she personally wanted to closely monitor his probation and community service.

Searight and Scarbrough came into court together with an infant in a carrier.  They now live in Niagara County, and their terms of probation will be supervised by Niagara County's probation department, but their community service will be monitored by Genesee Justice.

Searight admitted in court that he abandoned the dogs and failed to provide proper sustenance and care, leading to the death of one of the dogs.  He agreed to pay restitution for the medical care and shelter of the male dog.

Photo: File photo of "Brad Pitt" by Howard Owens.

Warrant issued for woman accused of letting dog OD after she fails to appear in court

By Howard B. Owens

A Batavia woman accused of allowing her dog, Oddey, access to narcotics, leading to emergency veterinarian treatment for overdoses three times, was a no-show in City Court on Thursday afternoon.

Cassandra Elmore may be in the hospital, acording to a friend who called court about four hours before Elmore's case was to be called, but City Court Judge Thomas Burns had no proof that the claim was true, so he issued a warrant for her arrest.

Elmore's court time was at 1:30 p.m., and there were several other cases then as well. Burns finally called her case at 2:40 p.m., and she was not in court. Her friend was informed that the court would require proof of Elmore's admission to a hospital -- a call an email or a fax from the hospital.  The court received no proof of the claim prior to her case being called.

According to police reports, Elmore showed up at veterinarian offices on May 21, May 25, and June 21 with Oddey unconscious.  

Investigators believe Oddey consumed cocaine on two of those occasions and either cocaine or another narcotic on the third.

Elmore, 30, a resident of River Street, Batavia, faces three counts of injuring an animal under New York Ag and Markets Law Section 353.


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).

Photo: Pup-flower at Harrington's

By Howard B. Owens


Talia enjoyed her visit to Harrington's Produce on Clinton Street Road in Batavia today.

Photo submitted by Paul Nichiporuk

USPS asks dog owners to control their pets, protect carriers

By Press Release


Press release:

Spring is here, which means more people and dogs will be on the street — increasing the chances of dog attacks on postal carriers.

To ensure the safety of our delivery personnel, the Postal Service is asking Buffalo dog owners to keep their animals secured when deliveries are being made. For local Postal Service officials and mail carriers, one bite is one too many and new tools continue to be unleashed that can help reduce dog attacks in the area.  

The Postal Service offers the following safety tips for dog owners:

  • When a carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors.
  • Parents should remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.
  • If a carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office or other facility until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office.

The Postal Service has a short video on dog bite prevention available on its YouTube site, USPS TV.

The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.

Photo by Howard Owens: Taken four or five years ago of Rocky and a postal warning card accidentally left by a substitute carrier in the mailbox of an Owens residence neighbor warning carriers about Rocky.  It reads, "If second door is open Don't Deliver" and "2 dogs, 1 crazy."  ("Crazy is underlined three times.)  Rocky was crazy but he wasn't vicious, though he did get a charge out of barking at mail carriers wherever he might see them. Rocky passed away on July 31.

One-eyed Nimitz missing on Tracy Avenue, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens


Nimitz is much missed in the Clark household after the one-eyed feline went missing recently.

Danielle Clark is offering a return for his return.

The grey and white kitty was last seen on Tracy Avenue in Batavia.

If you see Nimitz or know where he is, Clark can be reached at (585) 409-9833 or email



Duke ran after a deer and now he's missing

By Howard B. Owens


Duke saw a deer near his home in Byron and decided to give chase. Owner Chriss DeValder hasn't seen her boy since.

"I just don't know what to do without him," she said.

She said he may have been spotted in Oakfield.

He's also not good with other dogs, she said.

She asks that people call or text if they see him, or "call out Duke."  She can be reached at (585) 409-9325.

Reward increased for missing spaniel

By Joanne Beck


A reward of $250 has been doubled for the safe return of Bentley, a friendly 7-year-old Brittany Spaniel who broke free from his electric fence Sunday night in Batavia.

The cream and brown freckled dog escaped from his Vine Street-area home around 6 p.m. Sunday. He was wearing a red e-collar. There have been sightings at Meadowcrest Drive, Bank Street, Richmond Avenue, and State Street. 

His worried parents, Roy and Tammy Watson have been desperately searching for the pup, and they hope that a monetary reward might entice someone who may have information or the dog to come forward.

Bentley is friendly, though he has been skittish when people have tried to catch him, Mrs. Watson said. It is best to call her immediately if the dog is spotted, she said. The reward of $500 will be given for the safe return of Bentley. 

To report any sightings or related information, call 585-861-0013.



Photos of Bentley submitted by Tammy Watson.

Person claims to be trapped in bathroom by aggressive dogs at residence, owner can't be reached

By Howard B. Owens

A caller at a residence on Wood Street, Batavia, reports being trapped in a bathroom by two large, very aggressive dogs.

The caller told dispatchers that the owner works at a business in the City of Batavia but when dispatchers attempted to call that chain store,  a person at the store claims nobody that name works at that business.

Law enforcement is dispatched.

Public’s help sought to get Great Pyrenees home

By Joanne Beck


Usually, people are asked to take action if they happen upon a loose dog. However, with a particular white-coated Great Pyrenees, please heed the warnings of what not to do, Genesee County Animal Control Officer Sarah Fountain says.

“We need the public’s help,” she said Thursday. “Do not chase, call out, or feed (the dog).”

The dog has been skittish of humans, and approaching it may just frighten it away. Although no one wants the dog to starve, letting it get hungry might just motivate the canine to retrieve food from a trap placed on Wednesday, she said.

The large dog has been spotted roaming the area of Ledge Road in Basom since this past Sunday (Oct. 10). It was last spotted on Tuesday (Oct. 12) in the same area, she said. 

Fountain advised that any sightings be called into the animal shelter at 585-343-6410, Option 7. To date, no one has claimed the dog, she said. 

Photo submitted by Sarah Fountain


Adopt-A-Pet: Louie needs a home, ready to capture your heart

By Press Release


Press release:

People stop and look at me and always say, “Poor Thing”.  Then they choose another when they could have had a king.

That’s Louie’s story.  When you visit the shelter, you will find Louie hiding in the corner.   It’s difficult to see how handsome this 7-year-old Siamese mix with stunning blue eyes is as he lays curled up in a ball.  

Louie has called the shelter his home for the past few months and finds shelter life absolutely terrifying.  During the calm, quiet hours Louie enjoys and loves the attention he receives from the volunteers.

He was surrendered because he was bullying the other cats in the home and may need to be an only cat. 

He likes to keep up appearances and daily brushing is always on his agenda.   Louie is longing for a home of his own.  Longing for a stress-free, shelter-free life.  A family that will provide the patience and love he needs and so well deserves. 

Are you this special boy’s special someone?
"If you really like me, please take me home with you. I promise I’ll be good and love you long and true."

He is neutered, tested negative for FIV/FeLV, and is up to date with vaccines. Louie would do best if he is confined to a small room for a couple of weeks to acclimate to his new surroundings and give his new adopters a chance to bond with him. If you can give this kitty a nice indoor home, please stop into the Genesee County Animal Shelter, 3841 W. Main Street Rd, Batavia, NY during adoption hours to complete an adoption application or email us at

Local dog trainer completes certification to help identify underlying reasons for unexpected aggression

By Joanne Beck


Tori Ganino isn’t afraid to admit that self-assertion is her thing.

At least when it comes to dogs. That canine characteristic of extreme self-assertion — and unwanted aggressiveness — has fueled her career and prompted the 35-year-old to continue her education.

She has recently obtained certification as a Dynamic Dog Practitioner. 

“My passion is aggression. We need to know what’s going on internally,” she said during an interview Friday.“ This certification is more helping out and spotting behavior in dogs. I can see myself applying this to the dogs I work with and to my own dog. I just want to keep learning.”

Ganino is not new to embracing knowledge when it comes to working with dogs, and the canine behavior specialist eagerly added dynamic dog practitioner to her resume. Never heard of such a thing? That’s because the rigorous four-month course is only available in the United Kingdom. Other people have enrolled in the course but Ganino said that she is the only one in the U.S. to successfully complete it. 

While dynamic dog practitioner may seem like an embellished title, it makes sense as Ganino explains it. Say your dog Rufus is a bit more surly than usual, and he has been barking at visitors, and — especially uncharacteristic of Rufus — nipped at one of them. You might think he is just being a bad boy, however, there very well might be underlying issues at play. 

“Dogs are so extremely stoic; they hide things so very well,” Ganino said at her Elba residence. 

Beneath that quiet strength might be hip pain, an achy spine or pulled muscle, she said. By thoroughly assessing the dog, she will be able to pinpoint likely sources of the pain that are causing and coming out as aggressive behavior. Contrary to popular belief that older dogs would be more prone to this occurrence, Ganino said that she has seen it in younger dogs more often. They may be working dogs that herd animals or train for agility courses, or simply playful dogs that throw their little bodies out of whack scampering on slippery floors, she said.

An online dictionary defines dynamic as “a process or system characterized by constant change, activity, or progress; relating to forces producing motion.” Just like humans often do, dogs may overcompensate an injury in one area by overusing the other, Ganino said. That can in turn create a lot of pain and/or discomfort within the dog's body, she said.

The course taught her to understand what normal movement is for the dog so that she can determine what is abnormal movement. That involves taking a history of how the dog moves, what it was like before becoming more aggressive and how it behaves now, such as biting, barking or lunging at people. 

Ganino had owned and operated Calling All Dogs daycare until the dreadful Covid-19 struck. She made the difficult decision to close in March 2020, which ended up opening up a window.

“It has given me the opportunity to do this intense four-month course,” she said. “I had to present six case studies.  There’s not a similar program in the world.”

The programme (spelled properly in England) teaches how to spot potential pain and discomfort in dogs “using specific, measurable and professional techniques from the ground up, whilst giving you an in-depth knowledge of the canine body,” the course website,, states. 

“There are so many excellent dog training and behaviour courses out there that give you the latest up to date science based techniques to make you become an expert in your chosen field,” it states. “Despite all of them teaching you about A, B, C's they are ALL missing one vital component that is key to understanding most problem dog behaviours.”

Only 14 students are admitted at a time, and they are forewarned that the course is intensive with a blueprint for how to use the material, conduct an assessment and present the findings to the client’s veterinarian. This last piece is key to a fully implemented plan, Ganino said. She will perform a two-hour assessment of the troubled canine to evaluate its activities, movement, walking, running, standing and sitting, and the overall behavior of the dog, she said. 

The finished product includes a report, video and recommended plan of action that may include prescription meds, X-rays, physical therapy and exercises. That will go to the client, behavior consultant and vet. The vet will be the one to recommend a more specific route, such as the type of medical tests or prescriptions to implement for the dog's treatment.

“There’s a lot going on when it comes to behavior and aggression; it’s not just on the outside, but a lot going on inside. Unless you’re trained, you don’t see it,” Ganino said. “We can be that team to work through these problems.”

For more information, or to find out if your dog could benefit from Ganino’s expertise, go to, and click on Schedule a Free Consultation.

Photo by Gina Sierra,

Photo: Molly viewed through a soap bubble

By Howard B. Owens


Addie Tonzi, who is 13 years old and from Le Roy, took this photo of her grandparent's dog Molly through a soap bubble.

Submitted by her grandfather John Huenemoerder, of Pavilion.

Lost Pet: 'Appollo' is needed back at home

By Howard B. Owens


UPDATE: "Appollo" is home safe.

"Appollo" isn't lost in space but he is lost somewhere in Batavia.

His family would every much like him to return the the mothership on Hawley Drive.  He's been adrift since 8:30 a.m.

He's a skittish chap but will answer to his nickname, "Po." 

"Appollo" has made only one-and-a-half rotations around the sun, so still just a pup.  He is a husky and black and sliver and weighs about 50 pounds.

If found could they contact the Genesee County Animal Shelter, BPD, or leave a message at (585) 343-6865.

Dog on roof reported on Washington Avenue in the city

By Billie Owens

A dog is reported to be on the roof in the first block of Washington Avenue in the city. Officers are responding.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: Dispatch has left a message on the resident's voicemail machine. An officer at the residence reports the dog has opted to go back inside the house, but still has access the roof. "I'll be hanging in the area until we get it secured," says the officer.

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