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Neptunes Gardens

March 7, 2017 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Neptunes Gardens, batavia, pets, animals, news.

An SPCA necropsy of a dead animal found in the basement of a former pet store on Ellicott Street has determined the animal was a cat, Batavia PD announced this afternoon.

The cause of death could not be determined, but the SPCA found no signs of abuse and the absence of bite marks or claw marks inside the box indicate it was dead before being placed in the box.

Neptune's Gardens closed more than five months before the dead cat was found by an employee of I.D. Booth, owner of the building, while cleaning it out so the retail space could be rented to another tenant. 

The employee posted a picture of the dead animal on social media and said she had found the skeleton of a dead dog. Regional media outlets, including The Batavian, and the dozens and dozens of people who shared the initial post, did not question the conclusion that the bones were dog remains.

The Batavian spoke with members of local law enforcement a few days later who indicated the remains were probably not of a dog.

During the 31 years that Nick and Kathy LaFarnara owned Neptune's Gardens (the storefront was Ellicott Street, but the actual address is on Liberty Street), people would drop off boxes of kittens and sometimes puppies and the LaFarnara's would try to find homes for the animals.

"We always took them to the vet and made sure they were healthy before we sold them for $5," LaFarnara said. "They object was to find them good homes."

The kittens and puppies needed to be at least 8 weeks old, depending on size, by state law. LaFarnara said she was told the dead kitten found in the box was 6 weeks old.

"The only time anybody ever dropped off kittens that were 6 weeks old, we took them to Lollypop Farms because we could not legally keep them," LaFarnara said.

She said she has no idea how the kitten wound up in the box in the basement.

As far as opening another store across the street, LaFarnara said she and her husband are still discussing it.

February 16, 2017 - 11:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, Neptunes Gardens, batavia, news.

An employee of a local electric supply company, while cleaning out the basement of a former pet store in the same building, made a grisly discovery today  -- the bones of a dead dog in a box.

The box was reportedly stuck into some shelving in the basement.

Police were contacted immediately, according to John Booth, CEO of I.D. Booth, the company that owns the building on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia.

Somebody who identified herself as an employee of I.D. Booth also posted the picture on social media and it was shared dozens and dozens of times today and became fodder on the radio talk show of Kimberly and Beck in Rochester.

Booth said he and his company are fully cooperating with the police on their inquiry into what might have happened.

Kathy LaFarnara, co-owner of Neptune's Gardens with her husband, Nicholas, told The Batavian today that neither she nor her husband knew anything about the dog prior to posts about it popping up on social media.  

They closed the location, which was behind the Pok-A-Dot, about five months ago and haven't been back inside since, she said. They were intending to open a smaller store on the other side of Ellicott Street, but with all the negative publicity on social media and Kimberly and Beck, she isn't sure what their future business plans are now.

"In 31 years of business, we always disposed of animals properly, even the rabbits," LaFarnara said.

Asked if an employee might have put the box in the basement, LaFarnara said their only employee was Nick's daughter.

"And she didn't like to go down in the basement," she said. "I didn't either. It was creepy down there. The stairway was open and you always felt like somebody might reach up and grab your legs.

"Right now, I have no idea where the dog came from," she added.

Det. Eric Hill this afternoon could not confirm anything other than that police had been called and asked to look into the matter.

Booth issued the following statement this evening:

I.D. Booth, Inc. learned of a tragic and disturbing situation on February 16, 2017. While an I.D. Booth employee was cleaning out property that is presently owned by I.D. Booth, but had been leased to former tenant Neptunes Gardens, the I.D. Booth employee discovered what appears to be the remains of an animal. The remains appear to not have been handled properly.

I.D. Booth has never occupied the Neptunes Gardens property, and has no information about the condition of remains, or the treatment or condition of any animals that were housed at the facility. I.D. Booth is horrified about this alarming discovery, and does not condone the unethical treatment of animals.

Upon discovering the remains, I.D. Booth immediately reported the discovery to the police, who have opened an investigation. I.D. Booth takes this situation very seriously, and is cooperating fully with the Batavia Police Department. Anyone with any information about this situation is encouraged to pass such information to the Batavia Police Department.

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